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Study: Poor Online Video Quality Costly

13 Feb, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Global video content companies left as much as $2.16 billion on the table in 2012 due to poor online video streams, according to a new study.

San Mateo, Calif.-based video streaming company Conviva studied 22.6 billion video streams from 2012, and found approximately 60% experienced quality issues of one kind or another (20.6% impacted by buffering; 19.5% impacted by slow video startup time; 40% impacted by low-resolution picture due to low bitrates).

The company estimates that in 2011, every 1% increase in buffering time for VOD content led to three minutes fewer viewing. Today, that 1% increase leads to eight fewer minutes viewing. In short, online viewers are less patient when it comes to video delays, and that could mean as much as $20 billion lost for content owners through 2017.

“Viewers are becoming increasingly less tolerant of a poor viewing experience when streaming online content,” said Conviva CEO Darren Feher. “Shockingly, content providers have little to no visibility into how frequently this intolerance occurs, a crazy premise when you consider how deeply these viewers affect their daily economics.

“In the war for audience engagement, the companies that focus on providing exceptional content within a quality experience — one without buffering, with a quick video start time and high visual resolution — will amplify viewer engagement and ultimately be the most profitable.”

He said that viewers watch 25% more video when content starts up fast, has little buffering and provides high visual clarity.

“Online video providers know that consumers have a low tolerance for problems with playback. Their problem is understanding exactly what the boundaries are,” said Colin Dixon, founder and chief analyst of research firm ScreenMedia. “The data from Conviva lays bare how little margin for error providers have before their viewers move on.”

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