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Less than 8% share password outside family

connected TV devices used in the US Q3 2017

Did you spend a lot of time streaming video from your favorite website over the holidays? If you did, you are not alone according to new research from IBM.

Many people were streaming video from their favorite SVOD service over the holidays, according to new data from IBM. The company surveyed 1,180 US adults in Q3 2017 to help understand our evolving relationship with online video services. Two-thirds of the survey group said they used at least one SVOD service. It will come as no surprise that Netflix was the leader, with 90% of SVOD users streaming video from the service. Amazon Video came a very distant second with half as many users. Hulu was third with 27% and HBO Now made a strong showing at fourth, with 13%.

More than half mostly use connected TVs to stream

devices most used to stream Q3 2017Which device did you watch your favorite SVOD service on the most this holiday season? If you answered the television, you are in good company. IBM says that 51% said they use the connected TV most to stream. 15% said they used a laptop or PC. 10% used a tablet or a game console the most. 9% used the iPhone, and 6% an Android phone.

Of those using a connected TV, Roku devices were the most popular television streaming devices. 38% of connected TV viewers used one. 23% used an Apple TV, 21% a Google Chromecast, and 20% an Amazon Fire TV device.

Fewer people sharing passwords

password sharing Q3 2017Password sharing continues to worry online video providers, with some even claiming it costs the industry billions of dollars every year. IBM’s data paints a different picture. Less than 8% of people say they share their password with someone outside of the family. 49% say they share within the family and 36% say they do not share their password at all.

The problem even seems to be decreasing. In 2016, 11% of survey participants said they used a password to an account for which they did not pay. In 2017, 8% said the same thing. As well, 5% fewer people said they are sharing their password with family members in 2017 than in 2016.

Recommendations still a work-in-progress

recommendations effectivenessI have made some great discoveries through recommendations. For example, I would probably never have found an entertaining show like Travelers on Netflix without them. However, half the time I feel like my SVOD providers are just pushing their latest shows. IBM says that could be a common experience. 45% said the recommendations they received from their streaming service rarely or never reflect what they want to watch. Just 3% said the recommendations were always accurate.

Quality challenges remain

Nothing destroys an intense viewing experience more quickly than a video stall. Unfortunately, this remains a big problem for video streamers. 81% of survey respondents said they experienced buffering (when the video stalls,) up from 75% in 2016. 63% said buffering was the problem they most often encountered. Delayed video start was the second most encountered problem.

Buffering and delayed video starts are not just a US problem. 65% of global streamers most often encounter buffering problem and 62% encounter delayed video starts.

CDNs and video platform providers are very focused on fixing the quality problems with video streaming. Expect to see them make improvements in streaming technology and monitoring solutions throughout this year.

Why it matters

New data shows password sharing may be less of a problem than the industry seems to believe.

Connected TV will be the primary way that people stream video from premium SVOD services in 2018.

There remains much work to do to improve content recommendations. Expect AI to play an increasingly significant role in this area.

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