According to Conviva’s just released All-Screen Streaming TV Census Report Q1 2018, there was a massive increase in traffic over the last year. The company saw a 98% increase in video plays and 114% increase in viewing hours. Since the number of unique devices seen over the same period increased just 6%, that means we are watching a lot more often and for a lot longer than last year.
Here are some other observations from the new report.
Streaming premium video viewing mirrors traditional TV
Conviva tracked the number of plays per day and number of viewing hours per day for Q1 2018. The graphs of this data reveal an interesting pattern. There is a peak in plays and in viewing hours on every Sunday of the week.
Conviva data focuses on premium video consumption. For example, the company counts as customers 4 of the top 5 vMVPDs and 5 of the top 10 SVOD services. In other words, the video data the company tracks are for TV-style content. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we are consuming online TV in the same way we watch regular TV. According to Nielsen data, Sunday is the busiest day for traditional television watching. In the 2013-2014 season, 125 million viewers watched on Sunday, 10% higher than an average evening. Saturday was the next busiest night, with 120 million viewers.
Connected TV use sees enormous growth
Over the last year, there has been an enormous surge in the use of connected televisions. Conviva says the number of video plays handled by each screen type increased. However, the share of plays and hours viewed shifted radically.
Though the total number of video plays and playing hours to the PC increased 23% over the last year, the device lost share to the connected TV and mobile. For example, the connected TV’s share of device viewing increased from 46% to 55% between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018. Mobile’s share of viewing hours increased from 24% to 28%.
The most popular connected TV device remains Roku, delivering 23% of premium video viewing time to the television in Q1 2018. Amazon FireTV devices were the second most popular but were far behind Roku in popularity, with 5.7%. Apple TV delivered 5.4%, and Chromecast was last with 2.5%. Game consoles continue to hold their own for video streaming. PlayStation delivered 8% of viewing time and Xbox 6.1%.
Solid online quality improvements
Across all Conviva customers, the company saw a broad improvement in quality over the last year. Video start failures decreased from 5.9% to 2.3%. The number of people abandoning a play attempt before the video started (exits before video start) fell from 15.4% to 11.5%. Video start times improved from 5.3 seconds to 4.5 seconds. Average delivered bitrate increased from 3 Mbps to 3.9 Mbps.
Finally, the number one enemy of any streaming service, rebuffering, improved. The percentage of time the video plays and freezes versus the percentage of time the video plays without error decreased from 1% to 0.9%. According to Conviva, there is a direct correlation between rebuffering and engagement. The company says at a rebuffer rate of 0.9% average video engagement is 27 minutes. Engagement rises to 39 minutes for rebuffer rates below 0.4%.
Next month nScreenMedia will release a follow-up to the 2016 Secret Life of Streamers white paper. As with the 2016 paper, Conviva gave nScreenMedia access to a treasure trove of viewing data. We at nScreenMedia analyzed the data and will release the findings at TV Connect in London on May 9th and the Future TV Conference in Copenhagen on May 16th. Watch for the free white paper at the nScreenMedia website the week of May 14th.
Why it matters
When consumers stream TV-style content, they exhibit many of the same viewing behaviors as television viewers.
Connected TV is beginning to dominate as the platform of choice for premium video content.
Streaming quality is improving, but there is still a long way to go