New Conviva Data Reveals How Consumers Discover Streaming Content – And the Implications for Publishers


State of Streaming: Content Discovery Examines How Social Media, Advertising and Publisher and Peer Recommendations Influence Viewer Choices

FOSTER CITY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Conviva, the intelligence cloud for streaming media, released its State of Streaming: Content Discovery report for 2021 today, revealing how consumers find new streaming content to watch. The report showed content streamed for the first time was discovered in four ways: word of mouth (59%), advertising (52%), social media (49%) and streaming service recommendations (43%).

“Given the incredible amount of streaming content available today, connecting viewers with content that not only piques their interest, but also resonates enough to keep them coming back for more is a significant challenge for publishers looking to identify and engage new audiences,” said Keith Zubchevich, CEO, Conviva. “By leveraging advertising, recommendations and social media to curate and promote their offerings, publishers can expose viewers to new, quality content while simultaneously increasing their reach and brand loyalty.”

Social media is vital to new content discovery

The report illustrates a direct correlation between high social media usage and high streaming video consumption, showing social platforms are key to new content discovery. The average number of social media platforms used by a typical consumer is 3.4 while this number jumps to 3.9 for heavy streamers (and plummets to 2.3 for non-streamers). What’s more, high social media users are more than twice as likely to spend more than eight hours per day streaming.

The report also found:

  • 93% of heavy social users report they stream on Netflix. However, the next five top streaming publishers also have dominance with over half of heavy social users reporting that they stream on Amazon Prime, YouTube, Disney+, Hulu and HBO Max.
  • Social platforms are the top information source among younger consumers, aged 18 to 34, with two-thirds agreeing that social media has useful information about TV, movies, or shows.
  • Consumers who agreed with “social media has a lot of good information on shows and movies” were also 78% more likely to discover content by engaging with shows on social media.

The report further broke down word of mouth, the top overall source for streaming discovery, to reveal significant social media influence including friends talking about content on social media (20%), recommendations by a friend on social media (18%) and recommendations by a celebrity or influencer on social media (11%). In person word of mouth, including friend or family recommendations (34%) and friends talking about content in person (27%), was important also.

Publishers must maintain an advertising mix to maximize content exposure

Advertising also plays a key role in the discovery process and data revealed the advertising mix must be adjusted to maximize streaming engagement as evidenced by:

  • When it comes to which medium to invest in for the most successful advertising, most respondents reported seeing an ad on TV, followed by 20% saying they saw the ad on social media. Only 10% said a podcast ad or ad in a newspaper or magazine influenced what to watch.
  • Up to 65% of long-form video is still consumed on the big screen. This suggests 30-second ads remain viable. Conversely, five- to 10-second ad units are better for smaller devices where 42% of shorter content is consumed on mobile phones.
  • General web browsing is still the most common activity among consumers as 75% of respondents said they browse the internet for more than an hour per day while 38% reported browsing more than three hours per day. As such, the web should remain a dominant part of the paid ad mix.

Publisher recommendations resonate

Conviva’s latest data shows streaming viewers today like to browse and discover new content via curated recommendations publishers suggest for them, with 43% of streamers discovering content through recommendations from their streaming services. Additionally, 41% of all streaming viewers frequently watch what is recommended to them when they start up their selected streaming service and 47% agree that recommendations by streaming services are usually very good.

The full report can be downloaded here.


Data for this report was gathered through research conducted by Dynata between June 10, 2021 and June 14, 2021. The group surveyed was comprised of 2,502 consumers who are over 18 years of age, use social media as well as watch television or other video content through internet streaming and watch linear television (not streamed from the internet).

About Conviva

Conviva is the intelligence cloud for streaming media. Powered by our patented Stream Sensor™ and Stream ID™, our real-time platform enables marketers, advertisers, tech ops, engineering and customer care teams to build, engage and monetize their audiences. Conviva is dedicated to supporting brands like CCTV, DAZN, Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+, Peacock, Sky, Sling TV, TED and WarnerMedia as they unlock the incredible opportunity in streaming media. Today our platform processes nearly 2 trillion streaming data events daily, supporting more than 500 million unique viewers watching 200 billion streams per year across 4 billion applications streaming on devices. Conviva ensures digital businesses of all sizes can stream better—every stream, every screen, every second. To learn more, visit


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Barb Rogers

Barb has worked within the digital advertising and marketing space for over 20 years. Over the years, she found it difficult to find information on the simplest of subjects tied to the digital marketing space, so she decided to embark on a journey to create a space that others may appreciate.

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