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Conviva: Video Buffering Down

4 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

It’s taking less time for online video streams to buffer, and the delivery of low-resolution content online has increased dramatically, according to a new report on 2013 video from analytics company Conviva.

However, more than two in five views were of “grossly inferior” video quality, and video start failures have risen, to one in every 20, according to the company’s Viewer Experience Report. And in the past two years, the amount of time lost from a viewing session with a 1% buffering increase grew from three to eight minutes, showing viewers are far less tolerant of video playback problems today.

The viewing time for live-action TV drops from more than 40 minutes in high-def to just one minute if the viewer encounters buffering, an important metric concerning sports, where viewers watch over two and a half times as long in high-def vs. standard-definition.

“The demand for high-quality and minimal buffering across devices has clearly been demonstrated by viewers,” said Hui Zhang, CEO and co-founder of Conviva. “Our job, and that of our industry, is to ensure we improve performance at a rate that offers satisfaction rather than frustration. Conviva’s Video Experience Report offers insight for companies to identify where they need to improve.”

The report — which examined data from 45 billion video streams worldwide — found that in 2013 video buffering for streams decreased from 39.3% to 26.9%, and low-resolution delivery improved from 63% to 43.3%.

The report also found that in streaming households the number of concurrent streaming devices increased 28% year-over-year, with the preferred device for streaming changing as the day went on (mobile was tops in the morning, the PC was No. 1 mid-day, but the TV was No. 1 at night and overall).

“Some companies are doing a great job delivering high-quality video to all screens, but many are not minimizing buffering while maintaining video quality,” said Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst of nScreenMedia. “In those instances, one bad viewing experience on a single device puts all screens at risk. Continuity of quality across screens is very important.” 

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