Conviva: Smart TVs and Roku Dominate Global Streaming

Roku continued to hold the top spot among big-screen streaming video devices (connected TVs, smart TVs and gaming consoles) in the second quarter, ended June 30, generating about 30.5% of viewing time, down less than 1% as compared to Q2 2021, according to new data from Conviva.

Amazon Fire TV finished as the No. 2 streaming device with 16% of big screen viewing time. Samsung TV (13.7%), Android TV (7.8%) and LG TV (7.3%) rounded out the top five devices for big screen viewing time. Google Chromecast, Xbox and PlayStation all saw a decrease in share as compared to the previous year.

Data analyzed for the Q2 2022 State of Streaming report was primarily collected from Conviva’s proprietary sensor technology. Currently embedded in 3.3 billion streaming video applications, it measures more than 500 million unique viewers watching 180 billion streams per year and nearly 2 trillion real-time transactions per day across more than 180 countries.

The report shows continued growth in the global streaming market, including gains of (14%) in Q2 2022 as compared to Q2 2021. Asia and Latin America saw the most growth — 90% and 70%, respectively — while North America, the most mature streaming market in the world, also grew 5% year over year.

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As the global streaming industry matures, streaming success is getting more complicated. Device fragmentation is growing, and viewers’ quality expectations continue rising in concert with an ad-supported streaming world, according to the report. Streaming publishers are challenged to deliver a consistent and positive experience. Whether in Africa using an Android phone or in Texas on a Smart TV — viewers expect a quality picture, instant access to content and zero glitches, according to the report.

“The race is on to see which publishers will meet these expectations … providing the best experience when it’s most important,” Keith Zubchevich, CEO of Conviva, said in a statement. “Those who do will quickly eclipse the competition. Most importantly, those who make it a priority to obtain real-time actionable insights about their customers’ (real-world experiences) will undoubtedly separate the leaders from the pack.”

Conviva found bitrate rose globally in Q2 2022 across all screen types and devices, but often at the expense of other quality metrics. For example, Smart TVs saw the largest increase in bitrate of all screen types, up 15.1% year over year. However, to provide this more high-definition experience, Smart TVs saw noticeable increases in video start failures, video start time and buffering. Conversely, PlayStation and Roku were the only big screen devices to both decrease video start times (down 10.7% and 12%, respectively) and increase bitrate (up 4.6% and 12.9%, respectively).

To date, the iPhone has been the primary device for mobile streaming, especially in North America. In Q2 2022 the gap closed, with iPhone and Android phones capturing nearly identical global market share, 35.8% vs 33.2%, respectively. In addition, Android phones outpaced the iPhone by 10% in year-over-year growth in streaming viewing hours. In Apple’s favor is its quality — as the iPhone currently beats Android phones in every quality category, according to the study. As streaming publishers expand into newer, less mature streaming markets outside of North America, optimizing the streaming experience for the Android mobile device market will be of increasing importance.

Roku Launches Branded TVs in Germany

Roku announced the arrival of branded Roku televisions in Germany, with Metz blue and China’s TCL as the first partners to launch the branded internet-connected models. The launch follows Roku’s entry into the market last year with its streaming players. From October, consumers will be able to purchase a Roku TV model from Metz blue or TCL, in sizes varying between 32 and 65 inches in HD, 4K and 4K QLED.

“People transition more of their entertainment time to streaming, while continuing to watch a significant amount of broadcast TV, so [the] launch offer[s] a great experience for both,” Arthur van Rest, VP international at Roku, said in a statement.

Metz blue or TCL consumers get access to the Roku Channel Store, which offers free and paid streaming channels. Roku TV models work with the Roku mobile app, which can be used as a remote control, for voice search and control, and for private listening. Roku TV models are compatible with various voice assistants, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri. To share media from a mobile device to a Roku TV, consumers can use the app or mirror their screen using Airplay 2 or Miracast.

Leichtman: 46% of Adults Watch Video Daily via Connected TV Device

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group finds that 87% of U.S. TV households have at least one internet-connected TV device, which includes Smart TVs, streaming devices (Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast or Apple TV), video game systems, and/or Blu-ray Disc players. This compares to 80% with at least one connected-TV device in 2020, 69% in 2017, and 38% in 2012.

These findings are based on a survey of 1,902 TV households in the United States.

Overall, 46% of adults in U.S. TV households watch video daily on a connected TV — compared to 40% in 2020, 25% in 2017, and 4% in 2012. Younger individuals are most likely to use connected-TV devices. Among ages 18-34, 62% watch video on a TV via a connected device daily — compared to 54% of ages 35-54, and 24% of ages 55+.

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The report also found that 71% of TV households have at least one Smart TV — up from 58% in 2020, 41% in 2017, and 11% in 2012. About 50% of all TV sets in U.S. households are Smart TVs — an increase from 39% in 2020, 24% in 2017, and 7% in 2014.

Almost 60% of TV households have at least one standalone streaming device — up from 56% in 2020, 40% in 2017, and 4% in 2012. On a daily basis, 28% of adults watch video on a TV via a standalone device, 27% via an internet-enabled smart TV app, 12% via a connected game system, and 3% via a connected Blu-ray player.

“The data in this study indicate that there are now nearly 500 million connected TV devices in U.S. TV households — up from 300 million in 2017,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Along with this increase, the percent of adults in the U.S. using connected devices to watch video on a TV has significantly increased — growing from 25% to 46% in the past five years.”

Future Today: Streaming Video a Family Affair

The proliferation of streaming video services and devices linking the internet to the television is bringing the American family back together on the couch, according to new data from Future Today.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based research firm contends that 94% of parents have upped their time streaming video together with family members in 2021. That data also underscores a prime marketing opportunity for advertisers, according to Vikrant Mathur, co-founder of Future Today.

“There is a misperception that the explosion in screens has created siloed TV viewing, with families watching from different devices and rooms,” Mathur said in a statement. “In reality, parents with younger children, in particular, are co-viewing more than ever. Co-viewing experiences help these families connect, while also allowing parents to more closely monitor media consumption for their children.”

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The analyst cited data that suggests ad-supported VOD viewership and connected televisions (CTV) are projected to represent 60% of all over-the-top video consumption by the end of the year.

“With co-viewing of streaming content more prominent, CTV and OTT can dramatically enhance campaign value for marketers, helping them reach the entire home on the largest screen,” Mathur said.

NPD: Only 50% of Homes in Continental U.S. Get True Broadband Access

A new “Broadband America” report from The NPD Group reveals that only 50% of homes in the continental U.S. have true broadband speed of 25Mbps download or higher despite the growing reliance on connected technology.

In fact, 34% of homes receive internet access at speeds of less than 5Mbps, including 15% that do not have any internet access, according to NPD.

Vermont, West Virginia, New Mexico and Mississippi are among the least-connected states, while New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland and California are among the most connected. In Vermont only 24% of homes receive broadband speeds, while in New Jersey 65% of homes do.

“The so-called digital divide is a result of many factors including availability of suitable internet services and the affordability of services that are available in more rural parts of America,” Eddie Hold, president of NPD Connected Intelligence, said in a statement. “But there is potential for this situation to improve relatively quickly, as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which are providing key subsidies for deploying faster internet services, as well as funding the Affordable Connectivity Program which provides subsidized internet service to lower-income homes.”

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According to the NPD’s “Rural America” report, more-rural and less-connected areas of the United States have far lower ownership levels of connected devices, as well as a higher level of price sensitivity for technology products ranging from TVs to streaming media players and beyond. In fact, while TV unit sales are roughly the same across rural and non-rural areas, the average price is 40% lower in rural areas. When looking at streaming media players, unit sales are nearly 60% lower in rural areas.

“The lack of higher-speed internet limits the opportunity for newer devices and services, as customers do not have the connectivity needed to generate a satisfactory experience,” Hold noted. “That has a ripple-on effect for consumer technology, limiting the need for larger, smarter TVs, streaming devices, or even tablets and newer PCs.”

Sling TV Added on Vizio Smartcast TVs

The Sling TV app is now available on Vizio SmartCast TVs.

The cable alternative comes with a three-day free trial on SmartCast. 

Sling features live content with free channels such as ABC News Live and premium cable networks such as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, ESPN, ESPN2 and TNT, plus more than 150,000 on-demand shows and movies.

“Delivering on our commitment to provide endless entertainment options and enhanced consumer experiences, we are delighted to provide SmartCast users with access to premium channels like ESPN and Showtime as well as live sports, news and entertainment through the SLING TV streaming app,” Katherine Pond, VP of business development at Vizio, said in a statement.

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“With home screen access on Vizio SmartCast, we are able to deliver our premier service to millions of users across America,” Seth Van Sickel, SVP of product and operations at Sling TV, said in a statement. “Sling continues to be the most convenient way to watch the shows you love when you want, where you want, and on your terms across a wide breadth of device options.”

Sling TV joins streaming services such as Apple TV+, Discovery+, Disney+, HBOMax, Hulu, Netflix, Peacock and Prime Video already available on Vizio SmartCast. Vizio SmartCast also includes support for Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in, allowing viewers to stream, control, and share content from their phone, tablet or laptop directly onto the big screen.

Parks: Consumer Adoption of Smart-TVs Rose to 56% During Pandemic

The pandemic has been a boon for connected consumer electronics. New data from Parks Associations finds that among the most commonly adopted CE device categories, smart-TVs and smart speakers/displays showed significant growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Smart-TVs reached 56% while smart-speakers/displays reached 53%.

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Citing recent announcements by Amazon and Comcast regarding branded smart TVs, Paul Erickson, senior analyst at Parks, says TVs are now consumers’ most common video centerpiece in the home, and technology powerhouses are vying to own this point of entertainment aggregation — and the data that goes with it — by controlling the platform itself.

“The competition now is not just about providing access to entertainment, it’s also about adding increasing value to the platform through features such as voice assistants, smart home integration, and better user experiences,” Erickson said in a statement. “Smart TVs are now seen as a key anchor device for ecosystem penetration into today’s broadband households.”

Parks contends that purchase intentions were elevated at the beginning of the year for a variety of entertainment and productivity devices due to increased time spent at home.

Indeed, first-quarter purchase intentions are often low due to seasonality. However, the pandemic grew consumers’ perceived value of connected entertainment devices, generating growth in future purchase intentions for all product categories related to connected home entertainment.

“Consumer electronics device manufacturers are best served by product strategies accounting for consumers’ increased use of devices at home for work and streaming entertainment purposes,” Erickson said. “While mobility remains important, consumers now see renewed value in at-home work and lifestyle use cases.”

Comcast Seeking to Jumpstart Peacock Sub Growth via Connected TVs

Comcast reportedly is working with Chinese TV manufacturer Hisense and Walmart to market a line of connected televisions featuring the Peacock app, among others.

The media giant reported 42 million Peacock sign-ups through the first quarter (ended March 31). While the tally may seem large considering the AVOD/SVOD platform’s launch just nine months prior, the number of actual paying subs (10 million, according to The Walt Street Journal) suggests the service needs some help.

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Peacock will figure prominently next month during the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics, streaming some marquee events live — to paid subscribers.

Increasing that paid base — at a time when rivals Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have a combined 450+ million subs — has become a major goal for Comcast senior management.

Speaking May 26 on the virtual JPMorgan 49th Annual Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference, CFO Michael Cavanagh shed further light on the metrics, saying about one-third (or 13.8 million) of sign-ups use Peacock on a monthly basis. How many of them are paying a subscription remains unclear.

“We certainly would like to see more signups, more hours used,” Cavanagh said, adding the platform remains a work-in-progress convincing users to stream live sports (Premier League soccer), original sitcoms such as “Rutherford Falls,” “The Office” re-runs and live news going forward.

Earlier this month, NBCUniversal and Samsung announced that Peacock would available on Samsung Smart TVs. The partnership is noticeable since Samsung markets its own branded ad-supported streaming video platform.

“Samsung is a powerful platform and we are excited to bring Peacock to millions of their dedicated streamers across the country,” said Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships for Peacock.

Indeed, Comcast wants to use Peacock as lure to entice CE manufacturers to incorporate the platform as a conduit for third-party apps linked to the internet, similar to what Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast market.

The Journal reports that under the project name “PlatCo,” the cable TV giant is working to develop a line of connected TVs manufactured by China’s Hisense and sold in Walmart stores under the chain’s onn brand. Walmart also works with Roku for onn-branded soundbars.

“We’re learning as we go [on Peacock],” Cavanagh said. “And that is shaping our plans as we go forward. We’ve brought content production back. Working on getting Peacock on other platforms.”

Report: Smart TVs Account For 50% of TVs Overall; Found in 70% of TV Homes

New data from Hub Entertainment Research shows that smart TVs are now in a large majority of TV homes, and account for over half of all TV sets.

The findings underscore the fact that in the streaming video ecosystem, how consumers access content is changing.

Ownership of a smart TV set is at 70% of TV households this year, a notable milestone in their adoption. Overall, 52% of all TV sets are now reported to be smart TVs, up from 45% in 2020. This indicates accelerated replacement of older, non-smart TVs with smart TVs. Homes with kids or younger adults are more likely to own smart TV sets. Greater proportions of smart TV ownership are found in homes with children under age 18 (59% of all sets are smart TVs), or in homes where the oldest person is under age 35 (61%).

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These findings are from Hub’s “Connected Home 2021” report, based on a survey conducted among 5,000 U.S. consumers. Interviews were conducted in February and March 2021 and covers consumer ownership of many types of media-related technologies.

The Hub study also revealed increasing ownership of TV sets with built-in operating systems from Roku or Fire TV — more than two in five TV households now have one of these sets. More than half (57%) of TV homes now say they have a Roku/Fire TV streaming device or a Roku/Fire TV set — a large increase over our year-ago measure (51%).
Households using televisions streaming content from the internet rose to 77% of all homes from 74% a year ago. Overall, 56% of all homes stream video using a smart TV at least once a month — up from 48% in 2020. In 2019, 42% of consumers planning to buy a new TV set said they would shop for it and buy it in a store; while 27% planned an online purchase.

During the pandemic, the numbers reversed: Only 29% said they planned to buy at a retail store, while 43% planned to buy online.

“The wider adoption of smart TVs and replacement of non-smart TVs turns up the pressure on connected devices like streaming boxes, streaming sticks, and video game consoles,” David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study, said in a statement. “This ‘eliminating of the middleman’ will have a direct impact on how future revenue is split on advanced TV businesses like streaming, interactive shopping, and addressable advertising.”

Report: U.K. Media Buyers Prefer Connected Televisions

Media buyers (advertisers) in the U.K. are taking to connected-television (CTV) advertising in a major way. New data from Unruly suggests that more than two-thirds (67%) of U.K. advertising professionals think CTV is a more-effective (i.e. less-expensive) ad channel than linear TV. The report found that 100% of media agencies and 77% of brands plan to invest more in online targeted marketing over the next 12 months.

CTV advertising, which is targeted toward viewers of streamed content via Internet-connected TVs, mobile devices, smartphone apps, tablets and other over-the-top video platforms, has become popular since it is less expensive than traditional TV marketing.

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Unruly found that 68% of media buyers across the U.K. ad industry believe CTV ads provide better value for money compared to linear TV, and 68% said it was more effective at reaching their target audiences.

CTV consumption has risen sharply over the past 12 months, with previous research by Unruly showing that 54% of consumers are spending more time watching CTV content since the start of the pandemic. With a plethora of new CTV channels and devices entering the market, the competition for CTV audiences’ attention is rising rapidly.

“With the number of U.K. consumers cutting the cord and switching over to free, ad-supported CTV devices and services accelerating since the start of the pandemic, our study shows just how much CTV has become a key channel for brands and agencies,” Alex Khan, Unruly’s international managing director, said in a statement.

The report found that 67% of survey respondents said CTV is more effective than linear TV, providing better value for money (68%) and better targeting (68%). However, the findings suggest more education and insights around CTV are key to driving further growth, with around half of brands (45%) and agencies (50%) wanting a clearer understanding of how CTV fits into their campaigns and more information about measurement and attribution.

Brands are much more likely to want training on the benefits of CTV (48%) and audience-specific insights (48%) compared to traditional ad agencies (23% and 31% respectively).

“With a possible return to normal following the COVID-19 pandemic on the horizon, we believe our research highlights CTV’s ability to deliver across a multitude of goals throughout the purchase funnel,” Khan said.

Rebecca Waring, global VP of insights and solutions at Unruly, said the report underscores that there is no single driver behind the growth of CTV, as buyers are attracted by a broad range of benefits.

“Likewise, in our experience, CTV campaigns are being judged on a variety of KPIs [key performance indicators] that spanned viewability, incremental reach and brand lift. It sounds like a challenge for one platform to satisfy so many different motivations and performance criteria, but according to our research, it appears CTV is rising to that challenge so far, with 98% of buyers happy with the outcomes of their CTV campaigns.”