Buffering Is the Biggest Online Video Frustration, Then Quality
Streaming 4K and virtual reality video will have to wait, because publishers are still having trouble serving regular video. The CDN Limelight released its biannual State of Online Video report, and found that video buffering is far and away the biggest frustration for viewers. That's followed by poor quality video (content that's blurry or hard to see), the lack of device support for a selected video, and long startup times.
Viewers typically abandon a video after the second buffering delay. After a third delay, over 78 percent of people move on to something else.
The report provides a useful snapshot of where the online video industry is now. Men stream more video than women: 58 percent of men watch two or more hours per week, while only 45 percent of women do the same. Millennials (age 18 to 35) watch more than other age groups, with 16 percent streaming over 10 hours each week.
In this new golden age of television, TV shows are the most popular choice for video streaming, followed by original content (such as YouTube videos), movies, and news clips.
Over-the-top services have entered the mass adoption phase, with 60 percent of online viewers subscribing to one or more subscription video-on-demand services. Additionally, 26 percent subscribe to two or more services.
"We’re reached a turning point and online video viewing is gaining ground rapidly," says Dan Carney, Limelight's senior vice president of operations. "Sixty percent of respondents subscribe to one paid online service and 26 percent to two or more services. If consumers can get the same quality experience and content online at their convenience, they’re highly likely to cut the cord. And while price is a consideration, OTT providers should note that viewers understand the need for advertising if they want to keep costs down, with 60 percent accepting it if it prevents them from having to pay for content."
Limelight's findings come from a third-party survey of 1,779 U.S. and U.K. consumers who watch online videos weekly. Stats have a margin of error of 3.1 percent. Download the full report for free (no registration required).
Quality metrics defined by the Streaming Video Alliance provide a useful framework for understanding delivery issues, but aren't the full solution.
The biggest growth area is in viewers who subscribe to two OTT services, which could show an emerging trend in interest for niche offerings.
TV shows and movies and the most popular types of content for daily downloading, and the smartphone is the most popular device to use.
Previous Super Bowls offered less-than-satisfactory live streaming experiences. Will CBS Sports get it right for the masses this Sunday?