Has your viewing experience of streaming content ever been interrupted by the frustration of buffering? How does it make you feel? Does your heart rate increase? Does your jaw clench? Do you have the urge to throw something? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have suffered from Buffer Rage (#BufferRage), a state of uncontrollable fury or violent anger induced by the delayed or interrupted enjoyment of streaming video content from over-the-top (OTT) services.
Cord-cutting is on the rise—according to Pew Research’s Home Broadband Report, 24% of all American adults do not subscribe to cable or satellite TV service. Of those Americans, 15% have become cord cutters in recent years and 39% of millennials identify themselves as “cord-cutters.” The growing adoption of OTT services has given rise to new challenges in delivering streaming video. None of these new challenges is more critical than ensuring the quality of video and in turn, the viewer’s experience. And the biggest enemy of viewer experience is buffering.
To quantify the impact of buffering, we recently commissioned a study* of 1,000 consumers to determine the most common reactions to the buffering. What we found was that more than half of consumers (51%) who watch online/streaming video have experienced symptoms of Buffer Rage.
With nearly three out of every four consumers watching streaming video daily (43%) or weekly (31%), it is clear that getting ahead of the growing Buffer Rage epidemic is critical to the health of the OTT viewing population and the OTT industry. Consumers reported that buffering occurs regularly, with 34% of respondents encountering buffering problems once in every three video programs and 24% experiencing buffering once in every five videos. Even more alarming, many viewers are not able to experience streaming at all, with 27% of respondents claiming that buffering most often occurs before a video even starts and 34% experiencing buffering in the first 15 seconds.
In examining the extent to which the OTT viewing population suffers from Buffer Rage (as outlined in the below infographic), we also found that there was a significant opportunity (and responsibility) for OTT service providers to gain deeper insight into end-to-end video quality.
As OTT video strives to achieve broadcast-level (and even 4K/UHD) delivery, the only way to ensure quality, or stop problems before they reach the OTT viewers, is through complete performance visibility– monitoring and analyzing at critical, well-defined points in the content’s journey to the viewer’s device.
*Note: The study of 1,000 consumers was commissioned by IneoQuest and conducted by Research Now