Virtual MVPDs like DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV are making big strides toward increasing viewership on their services, according to Conviva.
The decisioning platform provider just released its State of the Streaming TV Industry report and it showed that overall streaming TV viewership rose 72% year over year. A lot of that growth was driven by vMVPDs where viewership grew 108%, compared to 60% for all other streaming video services in the U.S.
A good chunk of the viewership growth for vMVPDs can likely be attributed to live sports. Conviva found that several major sporting events were big streaming events during the quarter. The College Football National Championship had the highest peak concurrent viewership, 37.6% higher than the peak event from the year-ago quarter. Super Bowl LIII and March Madness streaming viewership grew 157% and 67%, respectively.
Conviva’s study also suggests that vMVPDs are ahead of the curve in terms of streaming video quality. Streaming services in the U.S. improved average video start times from 5.95 seconds in the first quarter 2018 to 4.28 seconds this quarter, but vMVPDs lead the way at 4.21 seconds. The report said vMVPDs outperform other streaming services in other quality metrics with buffering rates at 0.26% as compared to 0.70%, picture quality bitrates of 5.1 Mbps as compared to 4.5 Mbps, and video start failures at 0.68% as compared to 1.88%.
"There's no surprise that the streaming TV market is expanding significantly," said Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva. "Maintaining a high-quality viewer experience tightly across content and advertising is increasingly important as streaming providers look to increase viewer engagement and monetization. The battle for streaming market share is a fast-growing pie and services must deliver an experience comparable to linear TV to fulfill viewer expectations."
Conviva’s newest report isn’t only a positive growth story for viewership figures; it’s also a somewhat dire warning about streaming ad failure rates. Conviva determined up to 47% of ad attempts, across ad request, decisioning and selection, ad creative delivery, and creative playback may not make it to the viewers’ screens as intended. Among the causes for delivery failure were delays caused by wrapper ads, incorrect ad media rendition, empty ad response and VPAID errors.