Study: Daily User Engagement Per Streaming Service Drops

(Image credit: MIDiA)

BARCELONA—New data from video business intelligence and analytics provider NPAW shows that the streaming audiences continue to fragment, as users spent less time on individual streaming services in 2022. 

The trend raises concerns for subscription services hoping to retain subscriber loyalty and highlights worries that fragmenting audiences will make it harder to attract large ad revenues by individual streaming services, many of whom have launched ad-supported tiers in the hopes of stemming large losses.  

The new 2022 Video Streaming Industry Report shows that although global streaming adoption continued growing overall in 2022, the myriad content options launched in the past two years mean that individual services on average captured a smaller share of users’ daily watching time.

The report concludes that in 2022, for the second year in a row, providers around the globe saw a year-on-year increase in the total number of video plays while daily consumption per user and service continued to drop for both VOD (-12%) and Linear TV (-23%).

In this hypercompetitive media landscape, sports content emerges again as a major driver of viewer interest, NPAW reported, with the Qatar FIFA World Cup showing what live sports can contribute in terms of engagement. 

Meanwhile, viewing on big screens keeps gaining traction, while streaming quality of experience stabilizes for VOD and continues improving for Linear TV, the researchers said. 

“With competition growing fiercer by the minute, it’s business-critical for streaming services to provide the right content and a superior streaming experience if they want to attract and retain users and maintain growth," said Ferran G. Vilaró, CEO and co-founder of NPAW. "To do so, they need to leverage their platforms' data to the fullest extent, implementing advanced analytics solutions that combine technical performance monitoring and user journey insights."

Key takeaways from the report include: 

  • The time each user spent watching VOD content on each service further decreased compared with 2021 (-12%), demonstrating increased fragmentation and viewer choice, while viewers watched fewer titles (-7%),
  • Daily Linear TV playtime per user and service took a big hit, declining by 23% year-on-year while users watched 11% fewer titles per day.
  • Global VOD quality stabilized, showing the fruits of significant cross-industry technology upgrades made in previous years. The Avg. Bitrate for VOD marginally decreased (-1%), suggesting the beginning of a plateau in VoD video quality. Providers, keen to enable the best possible streaming experiences, focused on minimizing buffering by proactively increasing the Avg. Join Time (so that more of the program loads before the viewer can play). However, this resulted in higher Exit Before Video Start rates as users had more time, and greater opportunity, to disconnect before playback started.
  • Global Linear TV quality kept getting better, demonstrating how highly broadcasters and operators continue to prioritize Linear TV QoE, and suggesting that this upward trend will continue. Here, Avg. Join Time also increased, which, as above, suggests providers are implementing longer time lags to allow for higher-quality video to load in order to avoid mid-stream buffering.
  • Big screens are where users spent the most time watching content, gaining a bigger share of the total number of plays while that of small-screen devices decreased.
  • The Qatar World Cup 2022 provided a big boost in consumption, reaffirming the high engagement draw of sports content. Providers with streaming rights to the tournament enjoyed an increase of 80% in the total number of plays and 83% higher total playtime when compared with the previous six months.

The full report is available here (opens in new tab)

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.