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Consumer Patience for Poor Video Streaming: Less Than 4 Minutes

30 Mar, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As home entertainment migrates toward digital distribution, including over-the-top video, the quality of a streaming experience can undermine consumer loyalty in less than 4 minutes, according to a data tracking company.

San Mateo, Calif.-based Conviva found that stream interruptions, inadequate picture quality and other poor streaming experience issues prompt nearly three-quarters of all OTT video viewers to give up in the first 4 minutes of playback, according to a survey earlier this year of 750 respondents.

Specifically, the survey found just 25% of respondents would engage with video content for more than four minutes of an inferior viewing experience. Poor video includes repeated buffering, pauses and pixelated images, among others.

One in three viewers leaves the service to find content elsewhere as soon as playback degradations occur and 40% of respondents reported reduced affinity for a service after one bad experience. Fewer than 16% of consumers would try watching on another device after a sub-par experience on their first attempted device.

Viewers assign blame for poor experiences almost equally to the OTT service they are using, as well as their Internet service providers. Indeed, the company said a 1% decrease in buffering leads to 8 minutes gained in viewing time.

The findings are key as OTT services — unlike cable, satellite and telecom — engage subscribers on month-by-month basis.

“The stakes have never been higher,” Hui Zhang, CEO of Conviva, said in a statement. “As content consumption moves away from the traditional TV-based model, broadcasters need to ensure their online platforms deliver a seamless experience regardless of the device used.”

Conviva, whose clients include numerous entertainment companies such as HBO, ESPN and Disney, claims to monitor more than 4 billion streams per month from over 1.6 billion unique devices across 180 countries.

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