Time spent streaming continues to climb – up 53% year over year – as consumers embrace on demand videos (63% of all streaming viewing is on demand) on their TVs, PCs and mobile devices, according to Conviva’s quarterly “State of Streaming” report for Q3 2019. This significant growth in viewing – along with a strong focus on improving video quality – comes as the industry awaits the impending launches of a bunch of new OTT services on the upcoming months.
"Streaming is quickly becoming the new normal. As a result, we will continue to see new upstarts in the category accompanied by traditional media companies and big brand advertisers embracing the potential of the market," said Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva. "This is an industry undergoing massive growth and what happens in the next 18 months will shape what, how and when we watch content in the future".
STREAMING QUALITY IS IMPROVING, BUT NOT FOR ADVERTISERS
With potential industry upheaval on the horizon, connected devices and content creators are working hard to improve video quality. From Q3 2018 to Q3 2019, video start failures are down 10%, video start times are 6% faster, there is 33% less buffering and the picture quality (bitrate) is 3% better. Mobile saw big improvements in reducing buffering – down 34% year over year– but video start times were only down 4% and video start failures were down only 2%.
Unfortunately for advertisers, the improvements in overall video quality in Q3 did not extend to streaming ads. According to Conviva data, 39.6% of all streaming ad attempts failed in Q3. In addition, ads were plagued by delays including long start times and buffering including instances where it took up to 16.1 seconds for an ad to start and viewers had to endure up to 45.9% of ad buffering.
Tolerance for streaming ads varied by content type, with roughly 9-20% of viewers dropping each time an ad is run. For sports, the largest impact is at the very first ad where 18% of viewers drop, but subsequent ads have less effect. The fourth ad in a stream triggers the biggest drop as 20% of news viewers, 17% of drama/comedy viewers, and 16% of reality TV viewers stop watching. Overall in Q3, 54% of the audience stopped viewing after four ads.
THE DEVICE WARS: ROKU STILL DOMINATES
The connected TV category once again led all other devices in growth, up 58% in viewing hours year over year compared to PCs (up 36%) and mobile (up 33%). While Roku maintained the top position by ending Q3 with solid 44% of market share, its Q3 growth rate for viewing time (73%) was slightly lower than Amazon Fire TV (78%). Amazon Fire TV closed Q3 with 20% of market share, followed by Apple TV with 9%.
Roku also improved its quality over the past year and now delivers the lowest rate of video start failures at 0.18%, down 52% from Q3 2018, and nearly three times as much improvement as Amazon Fire TV which dropped 17% to 0.37%. Xbox again has the least buffering at a mere 0.15%, while Apple TV is the most improved with buffering down 40%. Once again Apple TV has the fastest video start time at 2.6 seconds and highest picture quality at 6.8 Mbps on average.
This is an industry undergoing massive growth and what happens in the next 18 months will shape what, how and when we watch content in the future” Bill Demas CEO of Conviva