UK needs to improve video buffering and quality

Despite 2012 being a year of great live content, UK video publishers and operators were only able to deliver a quarter of it (23.5 per cent) at optimal quality. This left online viewers with buffering and poor picture quality. The UK’s online viewing population is maturing, streaming content at least once a day (60 per cent watching on either a tablet or mobile). Conviva, a global provider of video viewing experience optimisation solutions, predicts this new breed of viewer will lose patience with an experience that is less than TV-quality, which pressures UK publishers and operators to improve their services, or lose viewers.

With 31 per cent of UK viewers experiencing playback issues over the last 12 months, it is imperative for online video publishers and operators to address quality issues in order to grow their audiences across multiple devices. Conviva’s 2013 Viewer Experience Report reveals that viewers watch 250 per cent more when they have an optimal experience defined as fast start-up, little to no buffering and a high-sustained bitrate for high resolution and visual clarity. The demand for online video is reinforced by researcher eMarketer which states that by 2017, digital video viewers will account for more than 61 per cent of the population (40 million people). Conviva suggests that fixing quality has the added benefits of subscriber retention and ad revenue uplift, advice which has attracted customers including Virgin Media, Channel 4, HBO and ESPN to improve scalability and picture.

In 2011 a 1 per cent increase in buffering resulted in three minutes less of viewing time per view of long-form content. By 2012, that identical 1 per cent increase led to 8 minutes lost in viewing time per view for similar content. Clearly, viewers are becoming more intolerant.

“The opportunity for online video publishers and operators is unprecedented as the number of viewers watching streamed content is growing each month, especially premium and paid for video. By establishing an optimal viewer experience and arming publishers with Quality of Experience (QoE) data, we can help them leverage revenue opportunities and grow audience numbers. We find publishers are particularly interested in seeing how long each viewer watches and, more importantly, how often each viewer returns to watch more,” explained. Hui Zhang, Co-Founder and CEO of Conviva.

Conviva suggests that by eliminating buffering and improving video quality across all devices, a typical premium long form VoD, (with 10 million views per month) should increase revenue by just under £1.9 million monthly.

“With this in mind, content owners in the UK must address quality quickly in order to maximise revenue opportunities and remain competitive in a dramatically changing digital viewer landscape where content, quality, mobile and connected TV rule,” Zhang concludes.

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