vMVPDs show strong year-on-year growth | Media Analysis | Business
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Research from comScore has shown that not only is over-the-top (OTT) adoption is on the rise, increasing 17% year-over-year, but that a key growth area is the virtual multichannel video programming distributor sector.
comscore vmvpd 17aug2018
The analyst said that its research has revealed that over the past year it has seen concrete indicators that more and more users are gravitating toward linear TV on OTT via virtual MVPDs such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Fubo, Philo, YouTube TV and Hulu Live. comScore’s data found that uptake of virtual MVPDs is still small but growing rapidly. It calculated that in April 2018, 4.9 million US households (5%) with Wi-Fi internet streamed a 58% increase in households from the year before.

In addition, it found that over-the-top viewers were spending significantly more time watching vMVPDs, with pure-play vMVPDs — that have non-linear, digital-only content such as user videos and original programming — comprising 10% of all time spent on OTT streaming in April 2018. This was a 53% increase year-over-year indicating, said comScore, that, not only are more users giving vMVPDs a try, they are highly engaged with them as well. comScore believes that nearly half of the time spent by OTT households with a vMVPD service is spent with the vMVPD itself.

Another key trend revealed was that households using pure-play vMVPDs are super users of OTT in general. OTT households using a pure-play vMVPD service in April 2018 spent an average of 128 hours streaming OTT content, more than double the overall average OTT usage of 54 hours per household. comScore noted that if you consider that about half the time that OTT households using a vMVPD service spend streaming is on the vMVPD itself, that left still leaves 64 hours per month streamed on other services, nearly 20% higher than the average monthly household time spent. Additionally, the average OTT household using a vMVPD service was found to use more than one-and-a-half times more OTT services than the average OTT household (6.1 vs. 3.8, respectively).

The research also provided a rebuttal to those foresee the death of live content – it forecast that it would just move to OTT. Susan Engleson, comScore’s senior director, emerging products, anticipated significant growth in virtual MVPDs in the years to come, with the Hulu and YouTube vMVPD services both likely to exceed a million users by the end of this each year putting vMVPDs at more than seven million users total, nearly a third of the number of households with satellite.

Engleson added that prosperity lay ahead for a different TV landscape. “The behaviour of MVPDs in regard to digital is a prime example of the industry trying to stay ahead of the curve,” she noted. “Some traditional MVPDs have embraced digital with a virtual MVPD offering of their own [and] many others are testing or have announced plans for a virtual MVPD offering indicating that they take this trend seriously...It may be that future generations do not distinguish between a streaming box and a cable box at all – there will just be one place consumers go for their entertainment.

“Today, all the industry players want to position themselves to become that core entertainment source. For networks, it’s important to understand that while their traditional linear audience is shifting, that doesn’t mean they have fewer viewers overall. Their viewers are just watching in different places and it’s important to measure this consumption across platforms/distribution channels – including vMVPDs – to get the complete picture of audience behaviour.”