'It's Still Loading?!' Long Load Time Just One Reason People Quit Watching Video - eMarketer
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'It's Still Loading?!' Long Load Time Just One Reason People Quit Watching Video

The headache for media execs is there's no single cause for streaming problems

April 21, 2017 | Video

Video streaming quality issues continue to be a big problem for the advertising and media industries. Whether they’re caused by problems with slow internet connections, or high demand for streaming video content during peak periods, the continued troubles are turning off viewers and causing headaches for media executives.

Finding evidence of video viewers’ distaste for bad-quality video isn’t difficult. The latest example comes from a Q1 2017 study released by video performance and analytics firm Mux.

US Digital Video Viewers Who Have Stopped Watching a Video due to Select Streaming Issues, Q1 2017 (% of respondents)

According to the company’s investigation of US digital video viewers who stopped watching videos due to various streaming issues, about 85% said they gave up because the load time took too long, while a nearly identical percentage said stalling and the dreaded problem of “rebuffering” caused them to end their viewing session.

Another survey also showed the negative impact that poor quality video experiences have on consumers’ willingness to watch. April 2016 research from Verizon found that at least 30% of digital video viewers were likely to stop watching if such an experience occurred on devices like their mobile phone or tablet.

US Digital Video Viewers Who Stop Watching Video Due to Poor Quality Experiences*, by Device, April 2016 (% of respondents)

The challenge for media and advertising executives seeking to prevent such issues is that there is no single cause for video streaming quality problems, and that some of these problems are out of their control.

One obstacle is that some internet providers have been known to “throttle” bandwidth for streaming video, especially during high-demand time periods in the evening when the system gets clogged—much like a highway during a traffic jam. There’s also the added complication of content providers needing to ensure compatibility with a growing range of consumer devices.

But regardless of the cause, one thing is clear for video advertisers and publishers: In today’s attention-driven economy, consumers aren’t going to stick around long if their viewing experience isn’t perfect.

—Jeremy Kressmann

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