How A Bad Binge Experience Can Just Ruin Everything

If you buy lots of certain kinds of products--shirts let’s say--it stands to reason that you know a good collar and bad cuffs, and after a few bad fittings, you know where to shop and where to avoid. 

Well, here’s something like that. New research from Conviva says 42% of binge viewers who have a bad experience trying to binge--lousy playback, hard to find content, that sort of thing--give up on the series and the presenter. And half of them are bad candidates to ever come back.

This would be ordinarily bad news with just those facts. But Conviva, which is in the business of optimizing over the top video delivery, points out that binge viewers, as the term suggests, are big consumers of content, and losing them could cost content providers dearly. You get a reputation.

So shirt-makers use better buttons or their stuff is on one of those long racks next to the Jordache jeans at T.J. Maxx. Bad content-spewers lose business the same way.

The survey says almost 80% of digital viewers will leave if an episode does not appear easily, quickly or adequately. And only 11% of them are likely to pick some other content to binge on if they can’t eat what they want to start with.  

By Conviva’s way of thinking, this is a pretty big problem, and by big we also mean, BIG. Most binge watchers use a laptop or that big rectangular shaped thing in the living room. And they watch a lot.

“In 2014, Netflix found that 61% of viewers regularly binge-watch shows,” the report says. “Given that current estimates put the OTT-watching audience at a shade over 190 million people, that would mean the binge-watching audience is right at 115 million sets of eyeballs. And they continue to proliferate. For our survey we asked a qualifying question: do you binge-watch shows? The number of respondents who said no was de minimus. This is not a millennial thing, this is a fundamental shift in usage pattern.”

Conviva research says 33% of consumers will boogie from content that is badly buffering (or whatever) within three minutes, and 43% are gone after four minutes of bad video.

Since, according to Conviva, most people seem to be committed to binge watching two series at one period of time and pretty much give up after one bad experience, bad content delivery is a double whammy. It adds up to half  billion hours that may not be devoted to OTT.

But even one binge experience is horrible enough!

“The implications are significant and logarithmic: a customer who can’t find episode two of a 26-episode season is gone – for a total of 25 episodes,” the report exclaims (pretty much). “They also are one less audience member on the count of followers used to define the value of the content when it comes time for that show to be syndicated or otherwise re-licensed. And they are one less person likely to buy a DVD at the end of the show. Potential loss from that one individual alone could be as high as $100 (25 episodes @ $3, plus a DVD @ $25); that’s without counting the impact on re-licensing value, as each individual viewer is relatively meaningless.


You might say Conviva’s survey is overly alarming, and if you don’t say it, I will do it for you. I am not everyman, but I’d say most of the time, my binge viewing is disturbed more by my sister. She calls too much.  But given that online is where viewing it headed, that viewer experience means something, or it will pretty soon. The cable business learned that bad delivery--remember the valiant On Time Guarantee?-- was ultimately the beginning of its awful reputation. Online content providers can learn from that.
3 comments about "How A Bad Binge Experience Can Just Ruin Everything".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, July 7, 2015 at 1:38 p.m.

    42 percent of how many?  If it's only 100 who have bad wifi or internet, then no big deal. If it's 100,000, then it's more of a problem. Knowing the percentage is insufficient information.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, July 7, 2015 at 1:53 p.m.

    Hardly very convincing evidence that America has become a nation of "binge watchers". If you asked the same peope how often they watch TV shows of any kind and gave them multiple choices to answer, a large number would have you believe that they almost never watch. As for the rather silly "finding" that people who start to binge watch a show will stop if they find the content boring, stupid, etc. isn't that pretty obvious?

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, July 7, 2015 at 2:04 p.m.

    Not just binge watchers. Watchers to catch up on episodes they missed. Comcast is notorious. 

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