• Scientific Study Reveals Impact of Streaming Video Quality

    It goes without saying that the quality of any consumer experience will directly affect the satisfaction derived from it. Video is no different; as has been shown in numerous studies over the years, whenever the streaming quality is diminished, so too is the viewer’s satisfaction.

    But new research from Akamai, conducted by Sensum, which used advanced biometric measurement methods, has revealed the extent to which lower quality streaming impacts viewers’ experiences and perhaps more importantly, what the business consequences of this are. Admittedly, the research is a bit geeky, but it’s also quite eye-opening and valuable for anyone building video products and services.

    As the research report notes, it’s critical to understand that as human beings we have unconscious reactions to experiences that by definition, we’re not even aware of. Understanding these reactions is essential, because they actually have a huge impact on brand perception.

    Sensum was able to measure these reactions in controlled testing situations using advanced technologies such as galvanic skin response and facial coding (I said it was geeky) along with more traditional research methods like implicit association and surveys.

    It’s difficult to fully summarize the extent of the findings in a brief post, but at a top line, the research affirms the conscious relationship between quality and experience as well as the subconscious relationship between the two.

    Viewers watched unbranded videos at high and low resolutions and with and without buffering events. Just the difference in resolution, without any particularly exciting action in the video, resulted in a 10.4% difference in engagement. With high action and with 2-second buffering event, the difference nearly doubled to 19.8%.

    The tests were conducted as well when viewers were told they were watching as a hypothetical customer of a transaction-based service, SVOD service and AVOD service. In this case, SVOD subscribers generated 175% more engagement when the quality was higher. Conversely with lower quality there was no difference in reactions by business model.

    The research went a step further to test reactions to certain words based on the viewers’ experiences, again depending on what business model had been simulated. In this case, positive words received lower scores from AVOD and TVOD users than they did for SVOD users while negative words received higher scores.

    It takes a bit of time to fully understand the research and the conclusions. As with any research, the takeaways are more directional in nature. But they do assign some specific values about the relationship between quality and experience, which in turn should influence how video service providers invest their time and resources. The market is only getting more competitive and every edge will count toward ultimate success.

    The research can be downloaded here.

    (Note: Akamai is a VideoNuze sponsor)

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