During the final game of the World Cup, Conviva measured a massive 9.12 million peak concurrent plays (PCP), smashing previous records as more than 9M people tuned in at once to see Croatia take on France. Previously, the record for peak concurrency was held by the 2018 Super Bowl, measured by Conviva at 5.5M PCP. World Cup futbol broke the Super Bowl football record on day 1 of the World Cup with 6.33M PCP, and didn’t stop there. During the 30-day tournament, there were 22 days where PCP exceeded the pre-World Cup record of 5.5M PCP, and by the final game Conviva measured traffic which set new PCP records 5 times over.
The 9.12M PCP of the final match also absolutely dwarfs the World Cup peak of 3.29M Conviva measured in 2014, as well as the 1.5M PCP Conviva measured in 2010, which marked the first time a streaming event secured a broadcast TV-level audience. This impressive growth is a clear indicator of the adoption of streaming TV and the confidence of consumers to choose streaming to ensure they don’t miss the winning goal, no matter where they may be watching. Given the increase in traffic from 2014 to 2018, if growth continues on the same trajectory, there is a possibility of 25M or more peak concurrent plays during World Cup 2022!
The final game of the World Cup was also the single most streamed game of the knockout round, with 41.2M attempts resulting in 34.9M plays. This single game saw more than the two semi-final games combined, which Conviva measured totaled 32.4M attempts resulting in 27.9M successful plays. As Belgium and England vied for third place, Conviva measured 20.1M attempts resulting in 16.3M plays, solidly in the middle of the pack between quarter and semi-final matches.
While total viewership was off the charts, the final two games of the World Cup saw lower engagement on average than other matches of the knockout phase, with 54.9 minutes of viewing time per unique viewer compared to the 83.8 minutes in the semi-finals and the 64.6 minutes Conviva measured in the quarter finals. This is still great engagement, but the drop is likely attributable to more casual fans checking in on the game, rather than sitting down to watch a full match. Despite this, the final game amounted to nearly 10M viewing hours, which was more than double the third place match with 4.4M viewing hours.
Live sports continues to be the ultimate test for the impact of quality on viewing, as many points along the delivery chain are pushed to their limits. For the final two World Cup games, buffering was higher than average at 1.9% compared to a rebuffering ratio of 1.6% Conviva measured in the semi-final games and 1.8% in the quarter finals. The lowest buffering Conviva measured was on Xbox, PlayStation, AppleTV, Chromecast, and FireTV devices at around 0.3% rebuffering or less, while the worst buffering could be found on Android devices at 2.82% on average. In the final two games, 2.8M additional viewing hours could have been possible if not for 10M plays lost due to exits before video start which Conviva measured at 12.81%, and video start failure measured at 3.03%.
The 2018 World Cup has been a record-breaking event, and Conviva has been excited to be measure every second of the action as the real-time measurement and intelligence platform for streaming TV. We look forward to seeing what 2022 will bring for the streaming industry.