Buffering time decreases 12.4 percent, but online video viewers losing patience

The amount of time spent staring at a spinning circle instead of the OTT video a viewer wants decreased last year by 12.4 percent, from 39.3 to 26.9 percent, according to a Conviva report. But viewers' patience for buffering is wearing much thinner, much faster, especially if they're streaming live sports.

Conviva video buffering impact 2013

Buffering has a significant impact on OTT viewership. (Source: Conviva)

"Viewing time for live action television plummets from over 40 minutes in HD to just one minute if the viewer encounters buffering" during a live sports event, a Conviva release said.

Even worse, 2013 saw an increase in video start failures, from 4 percent to 4.8 percent. While that doesn't seem like a huge gain, Conviva put it into perspective in its report. "One in 20 times, when a consumer decides to watch something online, the video simply doesn't start."

Quality is also becoming a big issue for viewers, who clearly want their HD, according to the study. For long-form content like movies, viewers watch high definition over 2.5 times as long as they do standard-definition movies. Live news and short-form video fare a bit better in standard definition, but viewers still prefer high-quality video, the report said.

The report concluded that online video providers must not only resolve buffering issues but make sure viewers get a high-quality experience on every device, from TV to tablet. "Doing a great job on the iPad is not good enough if a user wants to stream to the TV. Simply put, it's not about a particular screen, it's about all of them. If you disappoint your viewer on one screen, you'll miss the opportunity to engage with them during other parts of the day, and risk losing them on all screens with a bad experience on a single device."

For more:
- see the release
- DSL Reports has this story

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