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Streaming consumers like episodic content on big screens

August 22, 2023 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

The streaming industry is experiencing rapid, continuous evolution including consumer behavior and preferences. NPAW’s, a global video analytics company, new report Video Streaming Industry Report H1 2023, tracks and analyzes video consumption, consumer behavior, and quality of experience. The research looks at streaming behavior in Asia, Europe, Latin American, North America, and the Pacific. The report shows that overall playtime for the streaming industry is growing steadily, with a 4% increase compared to the previous year. This offers a positive indicator of user engagement with platforms and their content.

Streaming playtime grows

Further, all regions except Asia report higher playtime per user and service. North America leads the way with a remarkable 41% year-over-year increase, followed by Latin America at 21%. These differences highlight the diverse streaming preferences that exist globally.

Examining the raw figures reveals the emergence of two distinct categories. Europe, North America, and the Pacific region constitute high-consumption zones, each averaging over 79 minutes of daily service usage per individual. In contrast, the second group, comprising Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, experiences less usage, with a daily average of under 53 minutes. Notably, Asia records a mere 30 minutes.

Episodic content takes center stage

NPAW’s streaming data shows a clear preference for episodic content among users. Globally, episodes account for 60% of the total playtime, whereas movies capture 25%. This preference for episodic content remains consistent across regions, except in North America, where movies share a comparable share of playtime. Notably, the Middle East stands out as a region favoring episodic content, with movies and short content comprising less than 10% of the total playtime.

Smart TVs dominate the viewing landscape

The dominance of large screens, especially smart TVs, in VOD consumption, is expanding. In the first half of 2023, smart TVs contribute 51% of the total VOD playtime, highlighting viewers’ inclination towards the immersive experience provided by these bigger devices. This trend also plays a role in consolidating smaller-screen devices like smartphones, which are currently witnessing a decline in their share of playtime.

Parallel to VOD, larger screens continue to dominate linear TV consumption. TVs and set-top boxes collectively account for approximately 80% of the linear playtime, highlighting viewers’ preference for the traditional, in-home viewing experience.

Sports streaming takes off

One of the most remarkable trends in streaming is the rapid growth of sports streaming. Major sporting events in the first half of the year increased substantially in streaming adoption and engagement compared to the previous year. This surge in sports streaming highlights the changing nature of entertainment consumption as viewers increasingly turn to streaming platforms to catch their favorite sports action.

Streaming evolution

The streaming landscape continues to evolve in the first half of 2023. VOD consumption continues to grow, driven by user preference for episodic content and larger screens, particularly smart TVs. Improvements in visual and audio quality contribute to a more gratifying streaming journey across most geographical areas. Understanding user preferences and expectations remains pivotal in shaping the future of entertainment consumption. Be it indulging in episodic narratives via smart TVs or immersing in live sporting spectacles on expansive screens, streaming is a universal practice.

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