Commentary

The Cost of Not Being On Time

Woody Allen famously observed that, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” The Video Experience Report from Conviva has a version of that. It says in 2012, global premium content brands lost $2.16 billion of revenue due to poor quality revenue streams and at the rate things are going, they may miss out on $20 billon through 2017.

And why? Well a big reason is viewers won’t wait around for videos, and consequently advertising, to show up. If you have a clock aroundg (round thing, 12 numbers in a circle, three sticks going around, one of them quickly) watch the fast one go for two seconds. Not much time, but in online video time an eternity.

In 2012, roughly 60% of all streams suffered “quality degradation” according to to Conviva. Re-buffering accounted for it in 20.6% of the streams. 19.5%  were impacted by being slow to develop—generally, two seconds—and 40% by lousy video pictures. People are bugged by this, more than they used to be. The time a video starts  is crucial. It if takes two seconds, the number of people who just give up increases by 400% for long-form VOD, and 140% for live content.

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It would appear people don’t mind the lousy picture so much, as long as it’s quick. On that kind of data, perhaps, fast food restaurants were born.

I enjoy this dire stat from Conviva. Unless things get better, video providers will lose viewers—really. In 2012, 124.8 billion minutes—which Conviva says is the equivalent of 89 human lifetimes—were spent buffering. Imagine that.  And imagine the world problems those 89 buffered-to-death people could have solved! The cost  of all that lost time would add up to that $20 billion through 2017. But by improving the buffering experience, a  typical VOD provider (with 10 million views per month) could add as much as $1.4 million in revenue a month.

pj@mediapost.com

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