Streaming TV showing significant increase in viewership and quality

Monday, November 4th, 2019
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New Streaming TV Data Shows Significant Increase in Viewership and Quality as New Services Prepare to Launch

  • Conviva’s Quarterly State of Streaming Report Reveals Why Streaming Ads Are (Still) Failing, How Fans are Watching the NFL and Who is Winning the Device Wars

Conviva, the leader in global streaming media intelligence, released its quarterly State of Streaming report for Q3 2019 today, revealing 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. This significant growth in viewing – along with a strong focus on improving video quality – comes as the industry awaits the impending launches of Apple TV+ and Disney+ in November.

“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, 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. PCs saw the most consistent quality improvements year over year with 17% fewer video start failures, 23% faster video start times and 26% less buffering. 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 percent 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.

NFL Viewers Snack on Mobile Streaming

NFL viewers continued their mass migration to streaming in Q3, with a 77% increase in streaming plays and a 50% increase in time spent streaming compared to Q3 2018. Much of the NFL’s streaming growth occurred on mobile devices, which grew 109% in plays year over year, and TV, which grew 66%. Notably, NFL streaming plays on PCs went down 11% in Q3.

While mobile NFL viewing is up, the minutes per play remains small (8 minutes), inferring that fans are streaming NFL on their phones to check in on their favorite teams versus to watch games in their entirety. Those fans streaming the NFL via TV or PC watched for an average of 24 and 22 minutes, respectively.

NFL fans are also embracing streaming videos on social media, but their appetite varies by team and platform. Miami Dolphins fans watch more of their franchise’s videos than any other team on Facebook (168% above average) closely followed by Kansas City Chiefs fans (157% above average). New York Giants fans would rather watch videos posted by their franchise on YouTube (211% above average) and New England Patriots fans are loyal to watching team videos on Instagram (227% above average).

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.


Data for Conviva’s State of Streaming report was primarily collected from Conviva’s proprietary sensor technology currently embedded in three billion streaming video applications, measuring in excess of a 100 billion streams per year and a trillion real-time transactions per day across more than 180 countries. Year-over-year comparisons were normalized at the customer level for accurate representations of industry growth. The advertising data included in the report is based on an analysis of nearly 10 billion ad attempts in Q3. The social media data included in the report is based on an analysis of more than 100,000 social posts and 2.5 billion social video views across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.