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Death to Dongles? Smart TVs Have Highest Growth in Viewing Time

Lauren Forristal

Smart TVs are all the rage, which means streaming dongles and other TV-connected devices are so last season. According to a new report from the streaming analytics company Conviva, the global viewership of streaming devices was down by 2% between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021. Meanwhile, smart TVs saw their usage increase by 37% during the same time frame, with Google’s Android TV platform seeing the most growth in viewing hours at a whopping 42% year-over-year.

Not all device-makers were equally affected by the surge of smart TV viewing. For instance, Amazon Fire TV streaming usage declined 7% and Apple TVs saw a decline of 1% YoY. Sony and Microsoft saw the biggest downturn for their consoles, which were down 12% and 19% YoY, respectively. Roku, on the other hand, saw 12% growth.

When observing regional differences, Conviva found that in North America, Roku was able to secure 41% of big-screen viewing time. However, in Europe and South America, Roku’s share was only 5%, pointing to subsisting setbacks for the company’s international strategy.

Giant tech company Google has seen massive growth for its smart TV effort, however, its global market share continues to be comparably small. In total, Chromecast and Android TV captured just 11.2% of global viewing hours. As of January 2022, Android TV and Google TV combined have over 110 million monthly active devices. In May 2021, Google reported 80 million active devices.

To compare, both Samsung and LG saw major gains in 2021, with global viewing hours up 27% and 36% (in the order given). This is mainly due to the global chip shortage and its uneven effects on regional manufacturing. While Chinese smart TV makers were scrambling to replenish empty shelves in 2021, their South Korean counterparts managed a little better.

Apple was in a similar boat and saw overall sales decrease amid ongoing supply-chain constraints. In the September 2021 quarter, supply-chain issues such as chip shortages added $6 billion in costs.

In addition, it would also seem that all eyes are on Asia in the streaming space. Netflix executives are vocal about wanting to grow their market share in India, even reducing its price in December. Korea has been a huge boon for Netflix, with “Squid Game” becoming the company’s biggest global success story to date in 2021.

Also, streaming patterns in Asia have shifted as well. While mobile viewing has known to be the primary consumption mode in Asia, TV-based streaming surprisingly grew from 14% to 27% from Q3 to Q4 of 2021 alone. This is great news for South Korean companies LG and Samsung who can benefit from this significant growth.

Conviva has gathered the data for its latest report with the help of a number of major streaming services, which have embedded the company’s analytics technology in their apps. The company’s total app install base is north of 4 billion, with 500 million viewers worldwide streaming 200 billion Conviva-tracked streams every year.

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