nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Five comScore data points show connected TV growth strong, slowing

Households that stream to connected TV by device type 2017-2019

comScore previewed the 2019 State of OTT report chronicling the changes in connected TV viewing. In it, the company says connected TVs are being used more by more people, but growth in penetration is slowing. As well, the company says it will soon eclipse the DVR in importance.

Smart TVs catching streaming sticks and boxes

The number of Wi-Fi homes using a streaming stick or set-top increased by just 1% in the last year, to 49%. The number using a smart TV jumped 5%, to 42%. Susan Engleson, Senior Director of Product at comScore, attributed much of the growth in smart TV use to Roku. She noted that Roku’s share of smart TVs used in Wi-Fi homes surged from 15% in March 2018 to 25% in March 2019, an increase of 3.7 million.

For comparison purposes, Leichtman Research also sees strong growth in the number of connected TV homes. The company says 31% of US adults watch video via a connected TV device daily, an increase of 2% over the previous year.

Usage of streaming sticks and boxes the highest

Users of streaming sticks and boxes use their device far more than smart TV users. comScore says the average Wi-Fi home used 152 gigabytes of data in March 2019. 4.8 gigabytes were delivered to a streaming box or stick, 2.8 gigabytes to a computer, and 2.7 gigabytes to a smart TV.

Once again, smart TVs are catching up. Data consumption by smart TVs increased 58% from March 2018 while streaming boxes and sticks increased 12%.

Connected TV usage is 5 hours per viewing day

The average home streaming video to television consumed 86 hours in March 2019. Viewing was spread across 17 viewing days. In other words, on a viewing day, people watched over 5 hours of content.

Looking at data from comScore’s 2018 OTT report suggests massive growth in streaming. In March 2018, people watched just 3 hours and 18 minutes on a viewing day. Overall, the time they spent streaming in March 2019 increased 60% over the same month last year.

Connected TV penetration growth is slowing

comScore says that 59 million Wi-Fi homes were using a connected TV to stream video in March 2018, an increase of 17% over the previous year. One year later and the number of homes has grown 7%, to 64 million.

total connected TV households

Virtual MVPD growth is slowing

In the last year, subscriber growth at Sling TV has flattened, and DirecTV Now has lost customers in the previous couple of quarters. At the same time, Hulu Live has grown from 1 million to 2 million customers. YouTube TV is also continuing to grow strongly. So, is the vMVPD market still growing overall?

According to comScore, the vMVPD market is still expanding, although growth is slowing. The company compared the number of Wi-Fi homes with a vMVPD service between March and May 2018 with the same period in 2017 and saw 48% growth. Nine months later, year-over-year growth has slowed to 21%.

Connected TV approaches DVR in importance

According to comScore, the number of connected TV households is rapidly approaching DVR homes. In December 2018, the 3-month average number of DVR homes was 68.4 million, and connected TV homes were 6.5 million less. Just four months later and the difference has eroded to 5.8 million. There were 69.9 million DVR homes and 64.1 million connected TV.

In terms of time spent viewing, connected TV has already exceeded the DVR. In March 2019, connected TVs delivered 5.5 billion hours of video versus 4.6 billion for the DVR.

Why it matters

Connected TV penetration continues to grow in the US, though at a slower rate than last year.

Usage of connected TV is expanding fast, with time spent on viewing days exceeding 5 hours.

The DVR will soon be eclipsed by the connected TV in terms of penetration and is already bested by it in terms of hours of video delivered.

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