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Ericsson Report Sees Brand Damage in Mobile Video Stream Delays
When mobile video is delayed, viewers think worse of the network and are less engaged with the brand. Mobile video will skyrocket in the coming years.

Mobile World Congress begins early next week, and with mobile video on the rise it's a show that's increasingly relevant to the streaming media world. On the eve of MWC, Ericsson has released a special edition of its Mobility Report looking at the positive or negative impact that network performance can have on content providers and mobile network operators.

Rather than relying on user feedback, Ericsson used neuroscience to study the effects of smartphone use, monitoring pulse rates and eye movements. If found that when subjects were under some time pressure, delays in video streaming or web page loading caused their heart rates to increase by 38 percent. When they encountered a 6-second delay in video streaming, stress levels shot up by a third. That's the equivalent of taking a math test or watching a horror movie alone, Ericsson says.

"With no delays, stress levels during the video tasks averaged 13 percent above the pre-task baseline," the report says. "A medium delay of 2 seconds when loading videos led to average stress levels to go from 13 percent to 16 percent above the baseline. Once a video started to stream, a pause due to re-buffering caused stress levels to further increase by 15 percentage points. With high time-to-content delays of 6 seconds, half of the participants exhibited a 19 percent increase relative to baseline levels while the other half exhibited signs of resignation—their eye movements indicated distraction and stress levels dropped."

Study participants who didn't experience delays showed better brand engagement, Ericsson found. Those who had medium or long delays demonstrated neutral or negative brand engagement.

The report includes revised stats for the future growth of mobile data traffic, which Ericsson says will show a tenfold increase in the coming six years. Video is the biggest source of mobile data traffic. Trends driving the growth of mobile video include larger devices with high resolution screens, and streamed video increasingly appearing in apps.

For more, view the full "Ericsson Mobility Report" for free (no registration required).

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