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Don't Say Goodbye to Your OTT Viewers

Takes a second to say goodbye
Say goodbye, oh, oh, oh
It takes a second to say goodbye
Say goodbye, oh, oh, oh, say bye bye
Where you going to now

When U2 penned the lyrics to its song, "Seconds," in 1983, there was no such thing as online video. In fact, video had killed the radio star only four years earlier, and the Internet was a notion that barely extended beyond the walls of a few educational and government institutions. Yet, the above passage could very well describe what's weighing on the minds of today's OTT service executives some 30-plus years later.

New research from Akamai shows online video viewers have little patience for symptoms of poor-quality streaming such as buffering and low resolution. The study, conducted in conjunction with biometric research firm, Sensum, was designed to measure viewers' emotional and physical reactions to varying levels of video streaming quality and experiences, and how they relate to OTT business models and brands. And the results were amazing.

Together, Akamai and Sensum made two key findings:

  1. In the case of buffering events, viewers almost immediately reacted with a strong feeling of disgust, and a marked decrease in happiness. This seems obvious - a buffering event means service providers can say goodbye to their engagement rates. However, the data uncovered some pernicious, lingering effects on the brand of not only the service provider - but also the content itself.
  2. The second finding was truly startling. When measuring audience engagement with content at different resolutions, the higher resolution video generated 10% more engagement. Again that sounds obvious. But the kicker? The difference in resolution was imperceptible to the human eye. So consciously the audience was unable to see the difference in resolutions - but their body physically felt and unconsciously reacted to a small difference in quality. So that means your audiences actually physically crave higher bit rates.

The study also revealed further details of these human reactions in the context of specific OTT business models. But the overall point is this. Content owners spend millions of dollars creating content. OTT providers in turn spend millions more acquiring content, delivering it, and marketing it. But all that effort can be ruined in just seconds. Because quality really, physically, matters to your audience.

To learn more, download the full report.

It takes a second to say goodbye

Say goodbye...

1 Comment

Agree! Speed is such an important part of user experience.