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Video Quality Troubles Continue, Viewer Tolerance Lessens

Consumers have high expectations for video quality, and they don’t differentiate or make exceptions for the delivery mechanism, according to a slate of new research. What’s more, viewers are increasingly less tolerant of any video problems they encounter.

Parks Associates surveyed consumers and found that whether TV is delivered via over-the-top, satellite, or a cable operator, they expect the same type of experience: a full-featured service and a quality user interface. Viewers won’t make apologies if the service is delivered through a set-top box or an Internet connection.

Consumers are less patient with video buffering, even though it’s common. About 27% of online video views are buffered, 43% have low-resolution and 5% of videos never even start to play, according to a just-released report from Conviva, a video analytics and data processing platform. That’s not good for content providers or brands. A less than 1% rise in the time a video spends buffering leads to 11 minutes of lost viewing time, compared to only three minutes of lost viewing time in 2012 for the same amount of buffering. These findings come from an analysis of 45 billion worldwide video streams in 2013 across more than 1.6 billon individual devices.

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However, buffering is becoming slightly less pervasive. Video buffering in 2013 decreased from 39.3% of video views to 26.9%.  But video-start failures grew from 4% of videos to nearly 5% of videos. Live-sports viewing is most impacted by buffering.

“Consumers are increasingly expecting the TV-quality experience they’re accustomed to receiving from traditional video service providers,” Conviva said in its report. “The business of television is changing, bringing with it a complex new ecosystem. Content publishers and service providers who don’t adapt will not fare well.”

The number of devices streaming in one home at a given time rose 28% year over year, suggesting that viewers in the same household are watching different programs on different devices at the same time.

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