nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

nScreenNoise – Three ways COVID-19 has changed CTV viewing

nScreenMedia Video Podcast

The many shelter-in-place orders have changed viewing behavior in the U.S., Europe, and around the world. Here are three new data points that illustrate how connected TV is taking a leading role in our viewing lives.

This week, you can choose to watch my video rundown of the data or read the details below.

#1: We are streaming more (0:53)

Many sources are reporting that stay-at-home consumers are streaming more. For example, Pluto TV reports news channel consumption has increased 100% over the last three weeks. As well, factual SVOD provider CuriosityStream reports a 70% increase in viewership over the same period.

Nielsen weighed in on the matter this week. The measurement giant says that streaming minutes to the TV for the first three weeks of March increased 85%, to 400 billion, over the comparable three-week period in 2019. The growth is not entirely due to the current emergency. Between Q3 2018 and Q3 2019, Nielsen says the average U.S. adult boosted connected TV viewing 31%, to 4 hours and 24 minutes per week. However, an increase of 50% or more could be attributed solely to the impact of coronavirus on the viewing habits of the U.S. population. Moreover, Nielsen says there was a 22% week-over-week increase in connected TV streaming minutes in the third week of March.

Netflix dominates TV streaming, according to Nielsen. 29% of minutes viewed in the third week of March were streamed by the SVOD leader, versus 20% from YouTube, 10% from Hulu, and 9% from Amazon. What’s more, nine of the top ten most-streamed titles, as measured by total minutes delivered, were on Netflix.

#2: We are watching earlier (3:31)

Just released data from Conviva shows that when we stream has shifted dramatically. Primetime streaming has sifted earlier. Overall, comparing the first week of March to the third, global primetime streaming hours decreased by 2%, with the most significant drop, 4%, in the ten o’clock hour. Conversely, streaming between 5 and 7 PM increased 20%, with 5 PM streaming up 31%.

Daytime streaming hours were up 39% and early morning (6 to 9 AM) hours up 26%.

#3: We are using Roku or Fire TV (4:55)

Freewheel’s latest Video Monetization Report shows that Roku continues to dominate streaming to the television in the U.S. The company says that 43% of connected TV ad views were through Roku sticks, boxes, and smart TVs. Amazon Fire TV was a distant second with 24%. Smart TVs, other than those powered by Roku and Amazon, delivered 12% of the ads, and game consoles 9%. Apple TV (9%) and Chromecast (3%) were far back.

In Europe, Amazon Fire TV is the leading connected TV device. 24% of CTV ads were viewed on Fire TV in Q4 2019. Roku was second[i], with 16%. Smart TVs (absent Roku and Amazon powered devices) delivered 18% of the ads, and game consoles 10%. Once again, Apple TV (2%) and Chromecast (7%) were far behind.

The data Freewheel provides covers Q4 2019. With the considerable growth in CTV streaming due to people staying home, expect Freewheel to report a massive increase in ad views for Q1 2020. However, the share of those ads by device likely won’t change nearly as much.


[i] Numbers for Roku in Europe likely include devices powered by Roku but labeled by another company (so-called white-label devices.) For example, Sky’s Now TV box is powered by Roku.

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