The media industry lacks a clearly defined picture of how bitrate optimisation impacts the viewer experience, according to a survey of OTT providers, broadcasters and multichannel video providers.
The survey, which aggregated input from 300 respondents, showed wide variations in the methodologies used to understand optimisation, and in how metrics are collected.
While more than 35 per cent of respondents relied on technical approaches such as PSNR (14 per cent), SSIM (11.3 per cent) and VMAF (10 per cent), for example, 8.3 per cent relied on viewer surveys and 3.3 per cent said that they had no plans to check the impact at all. The survey was conducted on behalf of SSIMWAVE, the leader in viewer-centric video quality evaluation, by streaming industry expert Dan Rayburn.
“As consumers turn to streaming as their primary source of video entertainment, quality is becoming increasingly important,” said Dr. Abdul Rehman, CEO and co-founder of SSIMWAVE. “These results underscore the need for a consistent, objective measuring standard that can help operators choose optimisation strategies that balance cost efficiency with the need to maximise viewer satisfaction.”
According to the survey, the top methods used by the industry at large to measure the impact of optimization on the viewer experience are: PSNR (14 per cent), third-party platforms (13 per cent), providers’ internal video engineers’ methodologies (12.7 per cent), and SSIM (11.3 per cent). PSNR (18 per cent) was the leading methodology used by multichannel video providers, while third-party platforms (23 per cent) was the leading broadcast option and internal video engineers’ methodologies (27 per cent) dominated within OTT respondents.
In addition to the impact of bitrate optimisation on viewer experiences, the survey also highlighted Quality of Experience (QoE) and costs as the top two concerns streaming providers have as they begin to scale viewership. More than 35 per cent identified “measuring our QoE success with viewers” as the top issue, while more than 21 per cent said the main concern was “increased delivery costs.” The survey also shows that almost one-third of respondents (32.3 per cent) do not believe that their Quality of Experience creates an advantage over competitors in the market, and that another 23 per cent were unsure of how to measure their QoE versus that of competitors.