Time spent watching OTT content in France has risen from 3 hours (per viewer) a week in 2016 to 5 hours a week in 2018 according to a study from audiovisual regulator CSA.
However, the body also reports that despite the increase in popularity, the streaming quality of OTT content is an issue.
“Live screening often shows difficulties in playing a video,” the CSA states. “As downloads take too much time […] and because of an average quality of images due to pixelisation from poor network connections, [there can often be a] brutal signal cut-off. Most of the time, this downgraded quality is due to a poor Internet bandwidth.”
As the quality reception of HD image requires 8 Mbit/s at least, the CSA reports that only 70 per cent of the French population have a strong enough connection. However, this looks to be solved in the near future with the deployment of FTTH and high-speed Internet throughout the country.
However, streaming accounts for half of all Internet traffic in France, and during special events such as international football matches, having enough bandwidth doesn’t prevent congestion. This is why, the CSA explains, the quality is much better when TV content is streamed from a STB compared to OTT viewing. According to the UE legislation, the Internet providers are authorised to have a “reasonable management of the network”.
“IPTV is like a private part in the network, and is managed in priority to ensure the quality of service.” On the contrary, OTT services have to adapt the video stream to the debits.
Despite the progress in OTT take-up, the CSA concludes that OTT streaming is not going to replace traditional TV broadcasts, and DTT won’t disappear.
The report concludes that French TV will modernise with UHD broadcasts and more interactive features ahead of the 2024 Olympics.