Real-time data report shows sports are a major player
Conviva measured a 52% increase in plays and a 63% increase in viewing hours year-over-year, while overall video quality made great strides with picture quality up by 25%, and video start times and video start failures down 7% and 33% respectively.
As confidence in streaming TV grows and providers continue to deliver improved quality, viewers are increasingly turning to streaming TV for live sports. Among Conviva’s customer base, streaming increased 49% in plays and 54% in viewing time year-over-year for live streaming content. The NFL has been an especially important growth driver for live content, with NFL streaming growth in the United States increasing more rapidly than the overall live category globally; NFL live streaming plays were up 72% and viewing hours were up 83% in Q3 as compared to the previous year across Conviva’s customer base. NFL viewing drove major traffic as viewership accounted for 3% of total plays and 2.8% of all viewing hours in the United States
during the weeks games were played in Q3, as more fans than ever before elected to stream NFL games.
Live streaming TV providers have been able to scale quickly and successfully to meet increased demand, and have delivered 42% less buffering, 34% less videos start failures, and 26% higher picture quality as compared to a year ago. It is particularly difficult to deliver high-quality streams for live TV, as many viewers tune in simultaneously to consume the programming. As a result, live streams take 10% longer for the video to start and see 72% more exits before the video starts. Althoug improved year-over-year, there is definitely still room for providers to improve their delivery infrastructure and quality.
While live streaming TV saw significant growth, especially with NFL streaming increasing and the major influence of the World Cup, which drove a 10% bump in traffic during the weeks the tournament was played in Q3, it is surprising that the comparative share of live streaming across all types of streaming remained relatively steady in Q3 year-over-year.
In comparison, long-form VOD content, defined as more than 15 minutes in length, saw the biggest gains year-over-year. Long-form plays grew by 111% while viewing hours increased by 93% year-over-year, which coincides with the move toward connected TVs, which provide a more comfortable long-form viewing experience. When comparing long-form to short-form VOD and live content, long-form now accounts for more than half of all plays and viewing hours at 51% and 54% espectively, up from 37% and 45% in Q3 2017. This trend supports streaming TV providers which continue to spend billions of dollars annually on episodic content and movies.