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26 November 2015

Interruptions are OTT video’s public enemy number one

It is pretty damn obvious that the more an OTT service fails to deliver to your device, the more likely you are to “uninstall” that app and never look at it again. Being in the QoE business Conviva has asked 1,500 people in US interviews to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

In essence it aimed to find out how sensitive people are to their playback experience in Product Research (towards purchase), Entertainment, News, Education and Self Improvement.

At Faultline we view QoE of OTT video on portable devices as the Holy Grail and the most significant improvement you can add to your service.

The results were pretty straightforward with one in five (20%) saying they abandon poor experiences immediately, and another one in 5 (20%) saying if they have a bad experience they will never return to that service.

The result is more or less the same for poor picture quality as it is for excessive interruptions, with only slightly varying percentages perhaps 2% or 3% different for each category.

Some 10% would come back and try again regardless of how bad the experience was, while the other 90% say they actively choose to return to services that deliver a superior experience.

Conviva reports a significant variation across each of these genres, as the immediacy, relevance and exclusivity of content is balanced against patience and brand loyalty

Funnily enough it is older viewers who are the least patient (in all things surely) and these were found to be three times more likely to abandon a poor experience than the youngest.

The survey found that 83% of viewers will exhibit some patience, waiting for an improvement in the playback picture. However, there is no service that can afford to lose 17% of its audience based purely on a lower-than-expected picture quality.

It is unsurprising, perhaps, to find that there is are marked differences in the response of viewers who view video for different purposes. Product Research is almost equally damaged by picture quality as interruptions. Customers use video in these situations for a tactical purpose and see insufficient value in waiting around for an experience that doesn’t meet their expectations.

News and Information is particularly vulnerable to interruption-driven abandonment, not so much for picture quality. Customers seeking the latest updates on world events are as willing to put up with less impressive picture quality so long as the information is smoothly delivered.

Entertainment is also quite unbalanced – respondents tell us they are OK with less than ideal picture quality, so long as the stream plays in an uninterrupted manner, whereas Education is more susceptible to interruptions, than to picture quality. When trying to learn, a lack of clarity immediately devalues the experience.

Self-Improvement viewers are extremely forgiving of the picture quality and actually more forgiving on Interruptions than any other audience. The message is the thing, but this still leads to a 15% abandonment rate.

The survey then asked two specific questions about longer-term attitudes to services that have disappointed. First it asked whether they actually remember a poor experience and the answer was an overwhelming yes, with four in ten viewers who have a negative experience filing that away in their memory.

Then it asked respondents who remember poor experiences whether they actively choose to return to services – the answers were that 48% remember and 92% of those (or 44% overall) actively avoid that service.

Conviva concludes that from the consumer’s perspective interruptions are public enemy number one.