Streaming continues to gain steam, with growth accelerating in the first quarter, according to a new report from Conviva.
Conviva said that viewership of streaming video was up 72% during the first quarter, compared to a year ago. That growth rate is 49% faster than a year ago.
Consumption is growing fastest on the TV screen, up 74.3% from last year. The TV screen now accounts for 56.1% of all viewership. Mobile grew quickly as well, up 72.5% in the quarter.
One factor in the growth of streaming is the increase in take up by consumers of virtual MVPDs such as DirecTV Now, Hulu, Sling and YouTube TV. Those aggregators had a 108% increase among them, compared to 60% growth for other type of services.
The biggest streaming event during the first quarter surprisingly wasn’t the Super Bowl, according to Conviva. The college football championship game, in which Clemson defeated Alabama on Jan 8, had the most concurrent streams. The number of streams was 37.6% higher than the 2017 peaks.
During the quarter the average daily peak was 76.% higher than a year ago.
Quality remains a key factor in the adoption of streaming, and buffering issues were down 34% year over year.
But with ad dollars pouring in to reach over-the-top viewers, significant number of commercial are encountering streaming playback issues, hurting both the ad delivery as well as the overall viewing experience. Conviva said up to 47% of ads are failing.
Among streaming devices, Roku had a 42.% share. Gaining some ground was Amazon Fire TV, which had a 18.6% share of viewership, up from 11.4%.
In its report, Conviva warns that the internet wasn’t built for video, so “as streaming viewership grows, and devices increase and fragment, the complexity of delivering this massive scale of linear TV quality has intensified.”
Nevertheless, Conviva predicts that 2019 will be a hallmark year for streaming, with Disney, Apple and WarnerMedia putting new products in the field.
As linear TV players and tech giants look to leverage their content as a competitive advantage in the streaming industry, they will also have to grapple with considerations unique to streaming,” the report said. “Compelling content will bring viewers to the service but the quality of the viewing experience across the full stream is a vital component to acquire, retain and monetize viewers. The battle for streaming market share is not a zero-sum game, but services will have to deliver on excellent experience in order to command a premium in the increasingly crowded streaming landscape.”