Moreover, the latest quarterly report from measurement platform for streaming media found that the global streaming market followed suit, growing just 7% in Q4 2021 as compared with the same quarter in 2020.
Drilling deeper into streaming, the Q4 2021 report presented a mixed bag in terms of streaming quality in was a mixed bag worldwide, with the most notable quality concern related to video start times, which were slower year-on-year in every region. Asia in particular struggled with video start times (up 109%) while North America experienced a 14% increase in start times. On the upside, buffering and picture quality continued to improve worldwide with buffering decreasing 22% and bitrate improving by 12%.
Connected TV devices lost some of their share of streaming viewing for the first time, down 2% globally YOY. Similarly, companies with a strong hold in connected devices saw moderate growth – or even losses – in Q4 2021, with Roku growing just 12% and Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV losing share of viewing time at -7% and -1%, respectively. Conversely, smart TVs experienced a significant increase in streaming viewing time, 37% year-on-year. Specifically, Android TV grew 42% in viewing time as compared to Q4 2021 with LG TV (36%) and Samsung TV (27%) not far behind.
“Like many other industries, streaming adoption spiked during the pandemic, as people spent more time at home and continually sought the fresh, creative content delivered by streaming publishers,” said Keith Zubchevich, President & CEO, Conviva. “Fortunately, like sweatpants and sourdough, streaming is holding on to the enormous growth it saw over the past eight quarters. The growth rate may be slowing, but the streaming industry is now well established and unlikely to ever go back to pre-pandemic levels.”
Despite the worrying signals, the Q4 2021 State of Streaming report Q4 2021 State of Streaming report also showed that North American sports streaming via social media saw a resurgence during Q4 2021. October 2021 was found to be the first month to exceed pre-pandemic engagement levels for North American sports content posted on social platforms. US sports content saw a 42% increase in social posts and a 23% increase in total engagements in Q4 2021 as compared to Q4 2020. However, other regions were not as successful with sports content on social with Europe seeing flat growth (up 1% in posts and down 2% in engagement) and Asia seeing a decline in both posts and engagements (-31% and -23%, respectively). Rapid TV News