OTT Video Quality, Playback Translate to Viewer Loyalty: Study

Guess what? People get irritated when they encounter buffering and other bad streaming experience.

But the negative effects run much deeper than that, accordign to a study that Akamai Technologies outsources to a third-party firm Sensum that included the biometric measurement of reactions of more than 1,200 people as they watched streaming video that was encoded at different resolution levels. 

The study, which employed biometric measurement tools such as facial coding (emotional responses used to evaluate reactions)  and skin conductance, found that negative emotions rise 16% while engagement drops nearly 20% when faced with buffering and other poor streaming experiences.

And when that dreaded swirling ball of buffering appears, happiness drops 14%, and attention drops by 3% and focus dips by 8%, per the study.

A part of the study that relied on traditional survey questions also discovered that 76% of participants would stop using a service if issues such as buffering occurred several times.

Akamai said the study shows that poor quality streaming has a long-lasting impact on brand because it can cause this rise in negative emotions.

On the other end, high-quality, non-buffering streams generated a 10.4% higher emotional engagement than video at lower resolutions did, according to a portion of the study that based findings on galvanic skin response, which measures electrical conductance.

Among the different OTT business models tied to the study, SVOD brands lose the most engagement due to buffering, while transactional VOD services suffer the most negative impact to brand loyalty when a consumer has a low-quality experience. 

“This unique research shows there is no place for low-quality video in any streaming business model,” Ian Munford, director of product marketing, media solutions at Akamai, said in a statement. “The premium online video market is extremely competitive; the battle for revenue share is intense and subscriber acquisition costs are increasing, making differentiators like quality of experience more important than ever. Service providers cannot take risks with streaming experiences that are compromised by low resolution or buffering. They must provide consistent, high-quality experiences to help retain subscribers and reduce acquisition costs.”