Streaming Wars Heat up as VOD Consumption Per Service Drops

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BARCELONA—A new report from NPAW found that Increased competition and the proliferation of streaming content lowered video on-demand (VoD) consumption per service in 2021, putting increased pressure on streaming companies to stand out from the competition and boost the consumption of their content. 

NPAW‘s Video Streaming Industry Report 2021 highlights the impact of increased competition on streaming services, with established providers and newcomers alike bidding for the viewers’ attention and experimenting with new monetization models.

Overall, that competition drove down VOD consumption for each streaming provider by an average of 9% across regions. Rather than this downward trend reflecting a loss of appetite for VOD content among consumers, the researchers stressed that it showed the effects of increasingly fierce industry competition and an abundance of content. 

“In today’s hyper-competitive market landscape, it is critical for providers to prioritize Quality of Experience and Quality of Service if they want to stay ahead of the game. Access to real-time data and video analytics insights is the key to creating better user journeys, increasing viewer loyalty, and reducing churn,” says Ferran G. Vilaró, CEO and co-founder of NPAW, a video intelligence and analytics company. 

Other key takeaways from the report include: 

  • Linear TV Is a local business. Consumption per service increased globally but varied from one region to another. This mixed picture is a reflection of the local nature of Linear TV and how its consumption depends much more on local preferences and trends than VOD does.
  • Providers continued optimizing video quality for VOD, increasing Join Time by a global average of 5% to support higher bitrates while lowering the buffer ratio. However, they seem to have gotten the hang of Linear TV, as tweaks in the various quality metrics for this type of content stabilize. 
  • With live sporting events back at full speed, sports streaming is booming for VOD and Linear TV, both from a consumption and video quality standpoint. We expect sports streaming consumption and quality to continue rising in 2022 as providers put a greater focus on this type of content.
  • Big screens still reign supreme, while smartphones show the biggest decrease in consumption of all devices. Streaming is competing with many other forms of entertainment on mobile phones. But also by the fact that consumers are spending more time at home and have less of a need to stream video on the go.

The full report is available here.

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.