Video streaming continues to become more prevalent as digital video threatens traditional TV viewing time, with connected TV (CTV) devices (particularly smart TVs) driving growth in time spent. Within this context, Comscore has released its latest annual State of Streaming presentation [download page]. Here are 3 takeaways from the report.
1. CTV Rising, Still Trails Live TV Overall
US households spent 10.5 billion hours watching CTV in March 2022, marking strong growth from 8.3 billion during the year-earlier period. In fact, that 10.5 billion figure is more than mobile (6.8 billion, up from 6.6) and tablet (2.9 billion, down from 3.4) combined, the first time that has been the case. (Earlier research has similarly revealed that most premium digital video viewing takes place on a TV set.)
Total hours per US household increased to 122 per month on CTV in March, from 103 a year earlier. That was more than twice the amount of time households spent watching on DVRs (52) for the month. However, CTV viewing continues to trail live TV by a significant margin, as households spent 272 hours watching live TV in March, about 2.2x the amount of time they spent watching CTV. Still, that’s down from a more than 3x margin in March 2020.
As Comscore’s analysts write, “streaming is no longer a trend, but an absolute reality.” Some 85.7 million homes streamed content on a CTV in March, up by 5.7 million from the year earlier. And as more CTV viewers come on board, an increasing share are cord-cutters: this year 38% of CTV viewers were cord-cutters (having cut the cord within the past 5 years), up from 31% in March 2021 and 22% in March 2020. In fact, only half of CTV viewers have a cable/satellite subscription.
2. Netflix’s Competition Grows, but It’s Still Dominant
It’s no longer the top 5, but now the top 6 streaming services, says Comscore, noting the addition of HBO Max to the list of streaming heavyweights. Netflix continues to be the leader in both reach among CTV households (81%) and monthly hours watched per household (43), but others are also making their presence felt.
Indeed, there are now 6 services with penetration of at least one-third of CTV households. Following Netflix are YouTube (64%) and Prime Video (62%), with Hulu in almost half (46%). HBO Max (39%) and Disney+ (36%) are in almost 4 in 10 CTV households, though they trail in monthly hours spent per household (11 and 13, respectively).
Although there have been some indications that the US has reached “peak stacking,” Comscore finds that the number of streaming services watched per household has grown from 4.7 in both March 2020 and March 2021 to 5.4 in March of this year.
Overall, Netflix accounted for a leading 29% share of total hours spent streaming on CTV devices in March, up from 25% during the year-earlier period. YouTube followed at 21% share, up a point from March 2020, such that the two combined for half of total hours watched. If teens are a leading indicator, then the two platforms will continue to battle for viewing time in the years to come.
While Netflix appears to have consolidated its lead over its rivals (Hulu, the #3 in time spent, saw a decline from 16% to 12% share), it is seeing more competition in the form of audience overlap. Indeed, this year it has 82% audience overlap with the other streaming services in the top 6 (up from 80% last year), and 83% overlap with streaming services outside the top 6, up a couple of points from a year ago.
Its highest overlaps are with Amazon Video (66%, up from 64%) and YouTube (66%, up from 61%).
3. CTV Draws A Diverse Audience
As CTV viewing expands, it continues to draw a diverse audience, per the report. This year 41% of CTV households have members that include African-American, Asian, American Indian, Hispanic, or other diverse groups. That equates to a total of 34.6 million households.
In terms of diverse households, Hispanics are the most in number, though they are growing more slowly than others. Between March 2020 and March 2022 the number of Hispanic homes streaming CTV content grew by 16%. These homes are followed closely by the number of African American households streaming CTV content, which has grown by 24% over the same period. Further behind are Asian homes (+24%) and American Indian (+17%) homes.
As ad-supported streaming rises at a faster rate than non-ad-supported, some of these services are finding appeal with diverse audiences. For example, Fubo TV and Pluto.TV both see more streaming service viewing days among African-American and Hispanic households than the general population. Meanwhile, Sling sees more appeal among Hispanic and Asian households on average than others.
For more, download the presentation here.