The State of Online Video 2018

Viewership Is Up While Consumer Expectations Rise

Blog Post by Michael Milligan

September 25, 2018

Global online video viewing continues to grow. So do consumer expectations for a high-quality online viewing experience.


Online video viewing is up 58% since 2016 to an average of six hours 45 minutes per person according to Limelight’s recently released State of Online Video 2018 market research report. The report is based on a survey of online video viewers in France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, the U.K., and the U.S. age 18 and older who watch one hour or more of online video content each week.



Figure 1: How many total hours of video content do you watch online each week?


However, online viewing habits vary by country. The highest weekly viewership is in the Philippines, India, U.S. and Singapore where consumers spend more than eight hours each week watching online video.



Figure 3: How many total hours of video content do you watch online each week?


Although viewers are consuming more online video content than ever before, they still watch more traditional broadcast television. Globally, viewers watch an average of just over eight hour of broadcast television each week compared to six and three-quarter hours of online video.



Figure 7: How many total hours of video do you watch each week?


However, viewers age 35 and younger already watch more online video than traditional broadcast video.



Figure 4: How many total hours of video content do you watch online each week?



Figure 9: How many total hours of video content do you watch on broadcast, cable, or satellite TV each week?


When it comes to watching live online events, viewers don’t want to wait. Live viewing is the fastest growing segment of online viewing, but the delay between the online feed and the broadcast feed can cause issues such as spoilers where viewers learn about big plays on social media before seeing them online. Nearly 60% of consumers said they would be more likely to watch a live sporting event online if they knew it wasn’t delayed from the broadcast TV feed.



Figure 16: Would you be more likely to stream a live sporting event online if you knew it wasn’t delayed from the TV broadcast?


Globally, computers are the most popular device for online viewing, but smartphones are preferred in India, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and the U.S.



Figure 20: How much of your online video viewing is on the following devices?
(Scale 0-4)


And when it comes to watching streaming video on a large screen, smart TVs lead the way with nearly a third of viewers using them. However, consumers use many different dedicated streaming devices, creating challenges for content providers trying to reach as many viewers as possible.



Figure 23: Which streaming devices do you use to watch online video on your television?
(Select all that apply)


Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) services are being more widely adopted by global viewers, with an average of 1.0 services per viewer. However, subscription rates vary significantly between countries, ranging from 1.6 per person in the U.S. with 80% subscribing to an SVoD service, to a low of 0.6 services per person in France and less than 40% subscribing to SVoD services.



Figure 26: How many pay online streaming video services (i.e., Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.) do you currently subscribe to?


One thing that hasn’t changed is viewer frustration with video rebuffering. For the third year in a row, viewers noted rebuffering as their top frustration with watching online video. In fact, the average number of rebuffers before a viewer stops watching has dropped from 2.7 in 2016 to 2.2 in 2018.



Figure 49: How many times will you let an online video rebuffer before you stop watching and abandon it?


Nearly 29% of viewers will stop watching after the first rebuffer. More than 65% of viewers will be gone after the second rebuffer. Only 15% will stick around after the third rebuffer.



Figure 46: How many times will you let an online video rebuffer before you stop watching and abandon it?


To keep viewers engaged and coming back for more, you need to deliver the highest-quality viewing experience with no rebuffering to every device. Fortunately, Limelight makes this easy. Limelight’s video delivery solutions offer the lowest video rebuffer rates in the industry. Limelight MMD-OD and MMD-Live provide on-the fly packaging of on-demand and live video content that makes it easy to reach viewers on any device. The Limelight Video Platform lets you manage, publish, syndicate, measure, and monetize online video with ease. And Limelight Realtime Streaming delvers live video to viewers anywhere—in less than one second—so they can enjoy the action as it happens.


Contact us to learn more about how Limelight can help you solve your online video challenges.