Viewer time spent streaming video in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2020) increased 44% compared with the fourth quarter of 2019 — underscoring a significant year for the streaming industry, according to new data from Conviva.
Big television screens captured more than 75% of all viewing time, led by Roku with a 31% share of all TV viewing and followed by Amazon Fire TV (19%) and Samsung TV (10%).
Data was collected from Conviva’s proprietary sensor technology currently embedded in 3.3 billion streaming video applications, measuring in excess of 500 million unique viewers watching 180 billion streams per year, with 1.5 trillion real-time transactions per day across more than 180 countries.
“The way consumers view content fundamentally changed in 2020 with launch of new streaming services, the rapid adoption of smart TVs and connected TV devices and changing social behavior,” CEO Bill Demas said in a statement. “While the year was clearly defined by spikes in streaming viewing associated with COVID-19 restrictions, the shift to streaming is anything but temporary and we anticipate global streaming viewership to continue to increase in 2021.”
The smart-TV category drove much of the Q4 growth, experiencing a 157% year-over-year increase in viewing hours and nearly doubling in overall share of viewing time. Connected TV devices also tallied significant growth in viewing hours, up 38% year over year and earned nearly 50% share of global streaming viewing time.
Connected TV devices did lose a small percentage of share for the second quarter in a row, dropping from 51% to 49.1% year over year, due in large part to the growing popularity of smart TVs.
Big screens also dominated in engagement. Television viewers watched for an average of 28.7 minutes each time they pressed play. Chromecast demanded the longest watch time at 35.5 minutes per play, followed closely by Roku at 33.3 minutes per play. In contrast, mobile phones tallied just 8.6 minutes per play.
Social Media Streaming Declined
Cross-platform video engagement rates dropped significantly in Q4 as compared to the same time the previous year. Entertainment and brand accounts saw the largest decreases, each down around 26%, while media and sports accounts were slightly less affected with declines of 22% and 18% respectively.
YouTube was the only social platform to show an increase in audience share across the entertainment, media, brands and sports categories. Media and sports accounts saw the largest increases in YouTube followings with share increases of 5% and 5.4% percentage points respectively. Longer videos became more common on YouTube as well, with average video length increasing in sports, entertainment and media accounts by 60%, 59% and 34%, respectively.
Conviva said the social data consists of data from more than 120 accounts, over 3 million posts, 778,000 videos, 84 billion video views and more than 10 billion engagements across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.