Nielsen’s mobile video tool ranks best video streaming spots

Initial tests indicate wide variances in the ability to deliver high quality video content consistently, according to Nielsen.

As video consumption on mobile devices continues to soar, Nielsen has launched a new tool for gauging video performance on mobile devices. The Mobile Video Performance tool is aimed at operators and content providers looking to improve IP content delivery over Wi-Fi and mobile networks.

The tool evaluates a video viewing experience based on four performance metrics: video resolution, startup time, rebuffering and video success rate, which Nielsen describes as the ability to launch and play a video in 60 seconds.

In order to gauge mobile video performance across markets and environments, Nielsen has built up a panel of 70,000 U.S. consumers who are conducting video tests on mobile devices throughout the U.S.

The tests “capture critical data on daily consumer mobile usage including network speeds of popular video platforms,” the company said. Participants are also testing the delivery and execution of preselected content, while monitoring things like resolution, startup time and buffering stalls.

Together, Nielsen claims the tests will give content providers a “holistic view” of network performance, insights into consumer video consumption, and data that can be used marketing, product development and market segmentation.

Initial tests indicate “wide variances in the ability to deliver high quality video content consistently,” said Mike Greenawald, SVP of Nielsen Service Quality. “With the growth in mobile video usage, operators need to know how well they are meeting consumer demand.”

Looking at 120,000 mobile video tests conducted between September and October, the tool has found top performing mobile operators in the U.S. deliver HD quality video in 69% of video starts, while the lower-ranking operators deliver HD video 39% of the time. Nielsen said the industry average for delivering HD video to mobile devices is at 53%.

According to the data, Orlando, Florida, Portland, Oregon and Seattle rank as the places where consumers enjoy the best viewing experiences, based on the test metrics. Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Houston receive HD video less often than the national average.

Nielsen’s Total Audience Report for the first quarter of 2017 found video consumption on smartphones increased a whopping 81.5% year over year. The rise in mobile video consumption has put pressure on content providers to ensure streaming content to mobile devices can offer a viewing experience that’s comparable to traditional TV.

“Companies that can consistently provide better streaming experiences than competitors have a distinct advantage in the fierce battle for subscriber acquisition and retention,” Nielsen said in a statement announcing the product.