According to Conviva’s Q3 2021 State of Streaming study, despite predictions of a pandemic peak, streaming adoption continues to gain ground in practically every single region quarter after quarter. Streaming viewing time increased by 21% globally in Q3 2021 compared to the same quarter in 2020, driven by Africa, Oceania, and South America, while North America, an established streaming market, maintained the most sluggish growth of any area, up only 2%.
“Streaming viewing has grown 266% over the past three years, completely transforming the entertainment, publishing, and advertising industries,” said Keith Zubchevich, CEO, Conviva. “Topics like the 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.”
According to the survey, streaming publishers would invest extensively in video content on social media platforms, particularly YouTube, in Q3 2021 in order to test new content and promote their repertoire to users. Indeed, streaming platforms raised their content output on YouTube by 97%, resulting in an 8.4% rise in views and a 24% increase in interaction. Audiences for streaming platform accounts on YouTube increased by 66% in Q3 2021 compared to Q3 2020.
The third quarter of 2021 marks the first time that all areas witnessed sub-1% buffering, with buffering improving the most in more nascent countries like Africa, where it is down 78% year on year. North America made the most moderate advances over the previous year, with a 29% reduction in buffering, enough to keep its position as the region with the least buffering at 0.19%. Picture quality improved year over year, with bitrates improving in all regions.
Higher quality resulted in increased consumer involvement across the board. Viewers engaged for an average of 28.44 minutes in Q3 when buffering rates were less than 0.4%, with that rapidly decreasing with each incremental increase in buffering. Similarly, the higher picture quality was associated with increased engagement, with viewers spending more than 20 minutes on average at bitrates above 3.5 Mbps in Q3, with engagement dropping as bitrates declined.
Despite a modest reduction in share over the third quarter of last year, big screens – which include connected TV devices, smart TVs, and gaming consoles – still accounted for over three-quarters (73%) of viewing time globally. Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung TV accounted for the majority of big-screen viewing time globally, with Roku again taking the lead with 31.1%.
Amazon Fire TV’s share of global viewing time declined from 20% in Q3 2020 to 16.8% in Q3 2021, while Samsung increased its share of global viewing time by over 3 percentage points over the same period last year, rising from 9.4% to 12.2%. LG TV, Android TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast all increased their market share over the previous year.
Except for Asia, giant screens were the primary source of entertainment for the bulk of the world’s population, particularly in North America, where they accounted for 82% of all viewers. In North America, mobile phones, desktop computers, and tablets barely registered at 8%, 6%, and 4%, respectively.
Streaming advertising increased significantly in the third quarter of 2021. Ad efforts and impressions increased by more than 30% in Q3 2021 compared to Q2 2021. Only 15% of ads were not delivered as intended in Q3 2021, representing a 23% decrease in missed ad opportunities quarter over quarter.
Ad duration reduced by 3% from the previous quarter to 26 seconds, in response to consumer requests for shorter ad breaks. Advertising quality was a mixed bag in Q3 2021, with ad buffering worsening by 22% and picture quality decreasing by 1% from the previous quarter.