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Streaming video viewing has recently caught up in adoption with traditional TV, with about the same number of US consumers subscribing to streaming services as do those who subscribe to cable TV. For viewers making the switch, the good news is that the quality and reliability of online video services are improving, per a new report [download page] from Conviva, which measures some of the largest virtual multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) providers.

Examining its sample base during Q2 2019 and comparing quality metrics to the year-earlier period, Conviva found improvements in all quality metrics.

Much like last year, the video start failure rate – the percentage of attempts terminated during video startup before the first video frame was played – has experienced significant improvement, dropping about one-third from 2.69% in the second quarter of 2018 to 1.83% for the same period this year. SVOD, which accounts for the majority (66%) share of video viewing hours, is faring better than live streaming when it comes to video start failures. Live streaming video start failures currently stand at 2.61% compared to 1.54% for VOD.

Video start times have also improved, albeit just slightly, going from an average of 4.16 seconds in Q2 2018 to 4.06 seconds in Q2 2019. This metric looks at the time elapsed from when a viewer clicked play to when the first frame appeared. Live streaming video start time is better than the average, with a 3.23 second start time – while SVOD’s start time is in need of more improvement (4.34 seconds).

There is further good news for those viewers who have felt the frustration of having the video they are watching either stall or rebuffer. Video buffering was cut by about two-fifths between Q2 2018 to Q2 2019, with the average rebuffering ratio dropping to 0.46%. Live (0.41%) and VOD (0.48%) both boast similarly low buffering ratios.

When it comes to ads in streaming video, Conviva found that buffering also played a vital role – or hindrance as the case may be – in how much content is viewed. Pre-roll ads that had a high average rebuffering ratio (1.59%) resulted in much less content being viewed compared to the ads that had a lower buffering rate (0.40%).

The full report on streaming can be accessed online here.

About the Data: Globally, on an annualized basis, the Conviva sensor is installed in 3 billion streaming video applications for over 250 brands. The data is collected using proprietary sensor technology to analyze more than one trillion real-time transactions per day. The year-over-year data from Q2 2019 is normalized based on Conviva’s customer base.

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