Wednesday, 05 December 2018 11:09

Buffering the biggest annoyance for video watchers: survey

Buffering the biggest annoyance for video watchers: survey Supplied

The NBN Co will have to improve its game if the streaming media industry is to continue to make headway in Australia, with a survey finding that buffering is one of the biggest bugbears for users.

The survey of 1000 Australians, carried out by Stable Research, for OTT solutions provider Switch Media, also found that placement of advertising, loading times and crashing were other problems that users would rather not encounter. The survey results were released this month.

The survey found that about half the respondents listed buffering from slow Internet connections was the biggest hindrance to enjoying a video stream.

Seventy-one percent blamed poor broadband and Internet services for poor quality streaming, while 31% blamed the platform or the app they were using to stream for a poor experience.

Many complaints related to service delivery, quality or absence of service, and covered both existing networks and the NBN. The survey found that of those individuals who had an issue, one in five experienced more than one. And a quarter of these still had their issues unresolved after four months.

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The various annoyances encountered by respondents to the survey and the percentages who found them a bugbear.

Switch Media said NBN performance was also examined and it was found that, while the rollout of the network widened, so too did the complaints. Issues had surged by almost 160% year-on-year since 2013/2014.

Of these issues, the two top culprits were new Internet connection delay and an entirely unusable Internet service.

But complaints of this nature were not exclusive to Australia. In the UK, research by Falcon Media House had found that of 2000 consumers only 14% were satisfied with their experience.

And in the US, the video technology firm Mux found that 95.5% of 1000 people surveyed listed reliability and quality were the most important attributes they wanted in video streaming.

Citing the issues Optus had while telecasting the World Cup Football tournament and the problems that Foxtel confronted when a highly anticipated episode of the Games of Thrones crashed, the survey said that whether it was streaming through TVs, tablets or smartphones, consumers demanded a seamless experience.

switch media two

Regarding the monetisation of streaming video, the survey found that 92% would change their viewing habits due to poorly inserted advertising. Of this percentage, 46% said they would switch off altogether, while 28% said they would put up with it only if the program in question was one they were desperate to watch. Just 8% said they would continue to watch the stream.

Four in 10 respondents listed ad placement as an annoyance – second only to buffering. They cited repetition of ad content and the buffering that occurred when an ad was inserted, this being due to client-side insertion, often resulting in the ad being played either too early or too late.

But consumers were tolerant of advertising, with only 20% wanting an ad-free streaming experience. The majority was found to be willing to put up with three ads during an hour, with 60% saying they would prefer none to two, and 32% were willing to watch between three and six ad spots.

The respondents also felt that the longer they watched, the more they deserved a reward in the form of less ads. Seventy-one percent said they should be served fewer ads while binging on any series.

The length of ads was also of concern, with 61% saying that they would like one long ad, and not multiple shorter ads. The latter option was favoured by 22% of those surveyed.

Fifty-one percent preferred ads at the start of a show, while 33% said they preferred it at the end of the show. Only a tenth of those surveyed said ads during the show were tolerable.

Graphics: courtesy Switch Media


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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