By Ciara Linnane, MarketWatch
Conviva's 'State of the Streaming TV Industry' finds ad delays of just five seconds lead 13.6% of viewers to abandon content
Streaming services are growing at a breakneck pace around the world, and streaming providers need to improve the quality of their offering to ensure they capture their share of advertising dollars.
That's one conclusion in the first-quarter "State of the Streaming TV Industry" report from streaming data intelligence and measurement company Conviva, (/) published on Tuesday. Conviva collects data using sensors embedded directly in streaming video applications that allow it to analyze up to a trillion real-time transactions a day.
Viewership on streaming platforms grew 72% in the first quarter from the year-earlier quarter, while viewing hours soared 49%, the report found.
However, "That doesn't change the fact that the internet wasn't built for video," said the authors. "As streaming TV viewership grows, and devices increase and fragment, the complexity of delivering this massive scale at linear TV quality has intensified."
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The link between quality of experience and viewer retention for both streaming content and ads is increasingly important, said Conviva Chief Executive Bill Demas.
Buffering -- that irksome interruption that comes when a video stream pauses to reload -- as well as picture quality and start times are key to engagement and monetizing viewership, Demas told MarketWatch. "Consumers are expecting streaming to work just as well as linear or broadcast TV."
Providers are paying attention and taking steps to improve quality. Incidents of buffering, for example, fell 34% in the quarter from the year-earlier period, Conviva data showed.
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Still, up to 47% of streaming ads are failing, and that's a big risk for service providers as more ad dollars head for the streaming world. Ad delays of just five seconds lead 13.6% of viewers to abandon content, the report found.
"If people drop off, the provider may not be able to get them back, so that relationship between content and ad experience is another critical revelation that any ad-based service needs to know," he said.
Not surprisingly, multichannel video programming distributors, a category that includes DirecTV Now(T) , Hulu, PlayStation Vue(6758.TO)and Sling TV(DISH) , showed the highest growth rates, with viewership on those platforms up about 108% in the quarter, compared with growth of 59.6% for other services.
"MVPDs are growing much faster than the market because cord cutters want to be able to replicate the cable TV service," said Demas.
Social media are another key tool for streaming providers to attract and monetize audiences that were previously harder to reach, he said. Twitter(TWTR) , Facebook-owned Instagram(FB)and Snap Inc.'s Snapchat(SNAP)are all platforms that can help providers connect with viewers.
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"In a world in which we are deluged with content that will only increase over time, the initial signs from video clips on social media show they can correlate from a marketing perspective to engagement with content," he said.
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The streaming world is facing a shake-up later this year, as two giants, Walt Disney Co.(DIS)and Apple Inc.(AAPL) , launch their own products, and Demas is expecting a lot of movement, with popular TV shows coming off services like Netflix Inc.(NFLX)as licenses expire.
Disney's planned $6.99-a-month offering is especially promising, given the depth of its library and popularity of its content, which ranges from the Marvel universe to Pixar and the "Star Wars" franchise.
"Disney will be a big player," he predicted. "Apple will have some engagement, simply because it's Apple, but the jury is out on how much success it will have running a business independent of its DNA in hardware."
Apple's initial plan to spend about $1 billion on content is dwarfed by the $8 billion to $9 billion that Netflix is spending annually, but others such as AT&T's HBO also have bigger budgets.
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"This will be really fascinating, but it is a growing market, and it's not likely that one service will win," said Demas. "People will likely want up to five services, especially as cord cutters move off cable and linear TV and onto streaming full time."
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Meanwhile, Roku(ROKU)remains the leader in connected TV devices, with a 42.4% market share in the first quarter, up from 40.9% a year ago. Amazon.com Inc.'s(AMZN)Fire TV is offering a challenge, however, increasing its market share to 18.6% in the quarter from 11.4% a year ago.
Roku shares have gained 94% in the last 12 months, while the S&P 500has risen 11% and the Dow Jones Industrial Averagehas picked up 10%.
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-Ciara Linnane; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
May 02, 2019 07:24 ET (11:24 GMT)
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