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Despite the projections of many that the TV industry would revert to mean in the post-Covid lockdown world, the latest quarterly State of Streaming report from Conviva has revealed that in the third quarter of 2021 streaming adoption continued to gain ground in almost every single region.
Conviva streaming 4Nov2021
The Q3 State of Streaming Report was based on data from is primarily collected using the company’s sensor technology with a global footprint of more than 500 million unique viewers watching 180 billion streams per year across nearly 4 billion applications streaming on devices. It also took social media data from over 2800 accounts, over 21 million posts, and over 18 billion engagements across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube in Q3 2021.

The main finding was that the streaming industry was in rude health with overall improvements in quality of experience and with a battle for device dominance. Streaming viewing time grew 21% worldwide in Q3 2021 as compared with the same quarter in 2020, led by Africa, Oceania and South America while the firmly established North American streaming market held steady with the most modest growth of any region, up just 2%.

The report also found streaming publishers investing heavily in video content on social media platforms in Q3 2021, in particular YouTube, in order to test new content and promote their catalogue with viewers. In fact, streaming platforms increased their content output on Google’s online video platform by 97%, which resulted in an 8.4% increase in views and a 24% increase in engagement. Audiences for streaming platform accounts grew by 66% on YouTube in Q3 2021 as compared to Q3 2020.

Improved quality of experience was another standout. Q3 2021 marked the first quarter all regions experienced sub-1% buffering, with buffering seeing the largest improvements in more nascent regions like Africa, down 78% year over year. North America showed the most modest gains over last year, with a 29% reduction in buffering, which was enough to maintain its position as the region with the least buffering at just 0.19%. Year-on-year, picture quality also made gains with bitrate improving in every region.

There was a very tangible outcome for this: higher quality delivered higher consumer engagement. When buffering rates were less than 0.4%, viewers engaged for an average of 28.44 minutes in Q3, with that steadily declining with each incremental increase in buffering. Similarly, higher picture quality correlated with higher engagement as viewers averaged more than 20 minutes at bitrates above 3.5 Mbps in Q3 with engagement declining as bitrates dropped.

Looking at where people were streaming, the study revealed that despite seeing a slight decrease in share over Q3 of last year, big screens – which includes connected TV devices, smart TVs and gaming consoles – still accounted for almost three quarters (73%) of viewing time worldwide. In every part of the world except Asia, big screens were the majority of viewership, particularly in North America with 82%. Mobile phones, desktops and tablets barely registered in North America at 8%, 6% and 4%, respectively.

Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung TV made up the bulk of big screen viewing time globally with Roku again coming out on top with 31.1% share. Amazon Fire TV fell from 20% in Q3 2020 to 16.8% in Q3 2021, while Samsung gained nearly 3 percentage points over Q3 2020 to end with a 12.2% share of global viewing time. LG TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Chromecast also gained share over last year.

Streaming advertising made significant gains in Q3 2021. Ad attempts and ad impressions were up over 30% in Q3 2021, as compared to Q2 2021. Just 15% of ads in Q3 2021 were not delivered as intended, for a 23% decrease in missed ad opportunities quarter over quarter. Ad duration decreased by 3% from last quarter to 26 seconds, satisfying consumer requests for shorter ad breaks. Advertising quality was a mixed bag in Q3 2021, as ad buffering worsened by 22% and picture quality decreased 1% from last quarter.

“Streaming viewing has grown 266% over the past three years, completely transforming the entertainment, publishing and advertising industries,” said Conviva CEO Keith Zubchevich commenting on the results of Conviva's State of Streaming Q3 2021 report. “Topics like quality of experience, advertising measurement and social engagement are now top of mind and the publishers that effectively leverage opportunities to improve in these areas will not only lead the industry in subscribers and viewer satisfaction, but also revenue.”