Improved OTT user experience, increased devices boost video worldwide, reports find

Grabbing a viewer's attention and keeping them engaged is becoming all-important for online video industry players, two new studies from Tremor Video and Conviva have found.

According to Conviva, the key to user engagement is quality of experience, something it said improved between 2014 and 2015. In its second annual Viewer Experience Report, the OTT optimization service provider found that picture fidelity of over-the-top video is climbing, with bitrates worldwide improving 19 percent since the beginning of 2015. Video start failures have fallen to a four-year low of 2.0 percent.

"As content owners race to deploy OTT solutions in the rapidly-evolving online television world, quality of experience is now as vital as quality of content," said Hui Zhang, CEO of Conviva, in a release.

While rising bitrates have improved overall OTT video quality and reduced buffering, Conviva noted that a "surprising" number of developed countries, including the U.S., have a "middling QoE ranking." The company blamed skyrocketing usage for increased video start failures within the country: "Video takes up two thirds of the available bandwidth during prime time, meaning that there is limited elasticity to deliver quickly, at high resolution, or without the inevitable interruptions that come with network congestion," the report said.

Conviva midyear buffering impact

Source: Conviva Viewer Experience Report, Mid-Year Update 2015

Meantime, where and how viewers engage with online video is becoming varied as well. A study by Tremor Video found that while smartphone viewing is consistent throughout a user's day, they're also very likely to be viewing video on a tablet or desktop computer in the mid to late afternoon. Viewing on connected TV peaks -- not surprisingly -- during prime time hours.

Tremor Video analyzed the more than 40 billion digital video ad requests made during the first and second quarters of 2015 on its premium programmatic platform to determine online video consumption rates. The results were reported in its "Play It Forward" quarterly insights report and infographic.

eMarketer digital video view share by daypart

Source: eMarketer

eMarketer broke down Tremor Video's numbers even further, hour by hour. For example, at 8 a.m., viewing is almost the same across four measured devices: connected TV (3.28 percent), smartphones (3.31 percent), tablets (3.28 percent) and desktop computers (3.34 percent). By noon, desktop viewing is well ahead of other devices, at 6.03 percent of video ad requests. And at 8:00 p.m., the living room TV takes over, with 7.36 percent.

The study makes for some interesting observations -- such as, few people should be wagging their fingers at Hawaii state employees for streaming Netflix on the job, considering the boost in desktop video views during work hours. But not all advertisers use "daypart," or analysis that breaks down viewing by time of day, as part of their targeting criteria, eMarketer noted.

For more:
- see this Tremor Video infographic
- see this Conviva release
- see this eMarketer article

Related articles:
Hawaii to state employees: No, you can't stream Netflix
Losing a binge-watcher could cost an OTT provider $29, report says
Multiscreen viewing reaches 'all-time high,' but mobile growth is splintering measurement
SVOD drives connected device ownership, usage in U.S. homes, Nielsen says

Updated Aug. 19 to correct edition number of Conviva's Viewer Experience Report.

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