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Streaming Industry Grows 44 Percent During 2020’s Q4

Television screens are still the preferred device for streaming content, capturing over 75 percent of viewing time in Q4.

David Pepin

New research by Conviva reveals streaming platforms grew by 44 percent in Q4 of 2020, with more audiences spending more time streaming content when compared to Q4 of 2019.

Leading the way in this growth was the emergence of smart TV viewership, which reportedly grew 157 percent from the previous year. Televisions are the most popular device for streaming content, capturing 75 percent of viewing time in Q4.

Likewise, in 2020, mobile device streaming retreated as viewers spent the pandemic lockdowns in their homes.

The end of 2020 saw some economic rebound from the first half of the year. Ad demand and impressions increased 31 percent in Q4. However, issues still remain with 40 percent of ads producing missed opportunities.

On a global scale, businesses have turned their focus to producing higher quality streaming content. According to the research by Conviva, streaming content viewers experienced quality improvements in Q4 in four out of six continents. The below bullet points are a summary of streaming’s Q4 2020 performance around the world:

  • Africa: Picture quality improved 157 percent, buffering decreased 51 percent, start failures rose 49 percent.
  • Asia: The only region to experience some decline across metrics. Buffering increased by 43 percent, start failures rose 4 percent.
  • Europe: Picture quality improved 69 percent, start failures dropped by 26 percent, buffering decreased 25 percent.
  • North America: Picture quality improved 15 percent, start failures dropped 15 percent, buffering decreased 8 percent.
  • Oceania: Picture quality improved by 19 percent, start failures dropped by 29 percent, buffering decreased by 22 percent.
  • South America: Buffering down 48 percent, picture quality improved 8 percent.

Related: How AI Helps Marketers Create Sensitive And Effective Content Strategies

Overall, time audiences spent streaming rose 42 percent from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020. South America led the way, growing 257 percent over the course of one year between 2019 and 2020. In all regions except Asia, where desktops are the most popular streaming device, TV controlled the streaming experience – 75 percent of streaming views overall.


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