TV Streaming Services Jumped Over 200% in the Past Year

Somehow, we missed this report from the front when it first came out several months ago. But the battle for audience eyeballs is so important that we don’t want you to miss the following.

And don’t be fooled. This is a genuine war…business style:

Photo: Maskot / Getty Images

by Sarah Perez

Live-streaming TV services, like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV and others, are gaining steam in the U.S. as more consumers cut the cord with traditional pay TV. According to a new report from Conviva out this morning, these services (called virtual MVPDs) now account for more than three-quarters of all plays and viewing hours in the U.S., when compared with standalone apps from individual publishers, which have declined in usage.

Over the past 12 months, streaming TV services — the virtual MVPDs like Hulu with live TV, Sling TV, or PlayStation Vue — have seen a 292 percent increase in plays and a 212 percent increase in viewing hours, while publisher apps have seen declines of 16 percent and 19 percent, respectively, across those fronts.

 

The services have also been improving over time. Many suffered from glitches and outages at launch — and this continues today, on occasion. But overall, they’re more stable than in the past.

The report found that across these streaming TV services, there’s been a 22 percent decrease in video start failures, a 7 percent shorter wait time for video to start playing, 25 percent higher picture quality and 63 percent less buffering.

The draw of streaming TV services is a cable TV-like experience with added benefits, like the ability to watch across devices, record shows to a cloud DVR that’s not (in theory) limited by disk space on a set-top box, integration with your smartphone’s notification system for alerts about favorite shows or events and more.

But the ability to tune into live content — like live events and sports — is a major draw for cord cutters, as well.

Year-over-year, live TV content has seen a 49 percent increase in plays and a 54 percent increase in viewing time. The NFL is a huge part of this, with plays up 72 percent and viewing hours up 83 percent in Q3 2018, versus the year-ago quarter.

In the weeks that games were airing, NFL viewership accounted for 3 percent of total plays and 2.8 percent of all viewing hours in the U.S.

Because many viewers tune in at the same time to watch a live broadcast, compared with other content, there’s still room for improvement on this front. The firm also found that live television streams take 10 percent longer for videos to start, and see 72 percent more exits before the video starts, as a result….

Read it all at TECHCRUNCH.COM