Streaming TV viewership numbers increased significantly during the fourth quarter, according to Conviva’s new Annual State of the Streaming TV Industry report.
Across the measurement firm’s customer base—which includes HBO, Hulu, Sky, Sling TV, Turner and Univision—streaming TV viewership rose 165% in the fourth quarter and saw 89% growth in overall viewing hours for the year.
As more viewers flock to streaming live TV, Conviva is picking up on heightened sensitivity around expectations and patience. The firm said there was a 7% year-over-year increase in the rate of abandonment, which translated to 14.6% of viewers leaving before their video started. That effect increased when viewers expected a traditional TV-like experience, as when using a connected TV, watching live content or accessing a virtual MVPD such as Sling TV or DirecTV Now.
Conviva said live content increased 65% in viewing hours and drove a lot of growth in global streaming during the fourth quarter. Live content couldn’t match the 111% growth for video on demand during the same time period, but the firm said live content accounted for the largest global surges in viewership throughout 2018.
“Live events have a way of connecting us on both a local and a global scale. The ability to watch and be a part of exciting news, sports, and other developments as they’re happening is attracting viewers in droves,” said Conviva CEO Bill Demas in a statement. “The real-time demands of streaming mean that providers who remain vigilant and have visibility into every aspect of the viewer experience will win the loyalty of their viewers.”
On the ground level for much of the streaming TV growth throughout the year were connected TVs. Conviva said connected TV viewing hours increased 121% in 2018 and that connected TVs represented 56% of all streaming viewing hours for the year.
Conviva attributed the rise of connected TVs to the increasing popularity of vMVPDs, which it said are growing 74% faster in the fourth quarter than publisher applications in the U.S. In all, 77% of all U.S. vMVPD viewing hours were via a connected TV in 2018.
Among those connected devices, Roku led the way in viewing hours with 41% share of overall viewership. But Amazon Fire TV grew the most year over year and jumped to second place with 18% share, a 240% increase from the previous year. According to the study, PlayStation was noted for having the least buffering and Apple TV for having the best picture quality along with the shortest time for the video to start.