• Ad buffering is the “silent engagement killer”
  • Connected TVs deliver 48% less buffering 
  • Viewing hours have grown 130% year-on-year  

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Conviva: Viewing hours grew 130% year-on-year 

Source: Netflix

Connected TV viewing has resulted in a 130% year-on-year rise in streaming content, however ad buffering is causing a “crisis” in viewer engagement, according to a new report.

The overall growth of streaming consumption has continued to increase with the number of viewing hours more than doubling between Q2 2018 and Q2 2019, with total gain of 130%. 

Meanwhile, consumption on connected TV has continued to dominate viewership with 54% share of all viewing hours in Q2 2019.

Cconnected TVs also delivered huge improvements in quality with 48% less buffering, 6% better picture quality, and 34% less video start failures than the year prior, according to the State of the Streaming TV Industry report by online video optimisation and analytics firm Conviva.  

Despite the positive rise in viewing figures the report highlighted concern about levels of engagement, which Conviva branded a “crisis”.

The report found: “Ad buffering is the silent engagement killer, and has long been a blind spot for streaming providers left to wonder why their audience abandoned during an ad.”

In Q2, for viewers who didn’t even make it through 5% of their content, pre-roll ads tallied an average rebuffering ratio of 1.59%. When a viewer did make it past that 5% threshold, an indication they are engaged with the content, pre-roll ad buffering was 0.40% on average.

Conviva chief executive Bill Demas said: “Despite extraordinary growth, streaming is still a nascent market. As the data shows, audience appetites for content are on the rise with more ways to consume than ever before.

“Competition for mind share and market share is driving remarkable improvements and innovations industry wide. Publishers, service providers, advertisers, social marketers and brands are all expanding their focus to optimise every moment of the streaming experience.

“While we are nowhere near the saturation point, it’s imperative that both established players and new entrants recognise that every stream matters and take steps to address all dimensions of their streaming media businesses.”

Key findings form the report include:

  • Unexpected leaders in US streaming consumption While major markets dominate overall streaming consumption in the United States, Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix topped the city list when viewing was normalised by population. Perhaps more surprising, the tech hubs of Boston, New York and San Francisco lagged significantly.
  • The streaming TV advertising crisis expands Conviva reveals that ad buffering is a direct threat to content engagement with little viewer tolerance for ad quality issues. Streaming ad length averaged 24.87 seconds in Q2 despite a dramatic 70%+ increase in audience abandonment during 20+ second spots as compared to those who abandon during 10 second spots.
  • Device wars rage on The connected TV category led all other devices in growth, up 143% in viewing hours. This was largely driven by Roku with 173% growth and an overall 43% share of connected TV viewing. Amazon Fire TV was up 145% in viewing with an 18% share. Apple TV was up 129% to account for a 10% share.
  • Live bests video-on-demand in quality The hyper focus on getting it right for live streaming resulted in 13.9% less buffering and 25.6% faster start times than on-demand content, with near-equal average picture quality.
  • Video rules social media engagement Facebook and YouTube saw 15% more videos posted as news media led with the largest growth in average total video views, up 197% year over year. Entertainment led in growth of views per video, up 99%.

Data for the report was collected from Conviva’s proprietary sensor technology that is currently embedded in three billion streaming video applications, tracking in excess of a trillion real-time transactions per day in more than 180 countries.