Report: Users resist poor quality video payment

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The emergence of live-content offerings has the potential to serve as a major differentiator for survival in the crowded streaming market, yet more than one in four (27 per cent) of US adults who use a streaming service don’t think ‘live’ is worth paying for yet due to consistently poor streaming quality, according to findings in part three of end-to-end real-time video solutions provider Phenix’s Streaming Wars research series, The Streaming Wars: The Real-Time Differentiator.

The study, conducted online with third party research firm YouGov, uncovered that consumers have hesitation about the quality and access of ‘live’ content, and are not only cautious about their money, but also their time, as more than half (53 per cent) would abandon a poor-quality stream in 90 seconds or less. This underscores how dire it is to offer content in real-time and focus on the quality and delivery of these streams now before it’s too late. The report found that delays and buffering are beyond just inconveniences – they’re a complete turnoff and affect how consumers spend their money:

  • More than one in five (21 per cent) don’t stream ‘live’ content more often because they don’t want to deal with delays and buffering
  • More than one in 10 (11 per cent) of those who use a streaming service use a platform that offers a ‘live’ option but haven’t tried it
  • More than one in six (19 per cent) of those who use a streaming service would be likely to switch platforms if there was an alternative with a better ‘live option

Previous research showed that consumers were willing to pay a maximum of $20/month on streaming subscriptions. Phenix’s latest survey shows how imperative it is to optimise back-end technology to win over those precious and limited subscriber dollars:

  • More than one in three (35 per cent) would give a streaming video one-minute-tops to improve issues like lag time before giving up and turning it off
  • However, delays and buffering are not the only things holding consumers back from exploring live:
  • Nearly one in three (31 per cent) don’t want to pay extra to stream live content:
    • Nearly half (44 per cent) of those who use streaming services aren’t willing to pay more than $5/month on live-content subscriptions right now
  • 16 per cent said they still need a cable subscription to access the content they want
  • Nearly one in four (24 per cent) of those who use streaming services don’t know if the platforms they subscribe to offers a ‘live’ option
  • Nearly one in eight (12 per cent) don’t know where to find the content they want to stream

“We’re in the midst of an industry shift, seeing live-content offerings surface from platforms traditionally known for streaming pre-developed programming, like Hulu and YouTube, with many more to follow,” said Stefan Birrer, co-founder and CEO of Phenix. “‘Live’ has become the ‘survival of the fittest’ trait for streaming platforms, and recent updates like the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalise in-game betting shows how ripe the opportunity is. Many consumers don’t think ‘live’ content is worth paying for, however, and some haven’t even been willing to explore it yet because of everything they hear about regarding the poor quality from the media and more importantly, from their friends. Real money is on the line – whether in the form of platform subscriptions or in the near future, betting (which represents $150 billion) – and a stream that lags behind makes it impossible to engage in the way that consumers need. Across all avenues, especially interactive content like sports and esports, ‘live’ can only become a true differentiator once we make it a real-time experience by removing delays and buffering. We need an industrywide technological overhaul to achieve the lofty sights we’ve set.”

Offering sports is a logical entry point into the ‘live’ game, evidenced by Facebook’s successful debut with their MLB deal:

  • Yet, over one in eight (13 per cent) think that there are too many services to sign up for to get the sports coverage they want, indicating an opportunity to provide a one-stop-shop offering
  • Legalised in-game betting will open revenue doors, as more than one in ten (11 per cent) are willing to engage in betting on sports online

esports is exploding and provides an avenue for platforms to get into the live game. Of consumers who are aware of esports:

  • More than one in 10 (11 per cent) are planning to watch more esports this year
  • Nearly one in eight (12 per cent) wish there was more esports content available to watch
  • One in 10 (10 per cent) are more likely to choose a streaming provider if they offer esports live streams

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