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Don’t break the spell: Conviva releases latest findings on viewing behaviour

Slow start times, inferior picture resolution, or excessive interruptions lead to viewers quickly abandoning content, and nearly a third of viewers will abandon a poor quality experience immediately

Despite Ofcom’s recent report on the rise of smartphone use, a recent study by Conviva found that large screens still rule, and while mobile is certainly important to them, respondents still use the PC more than any other device. Seventy-nine per cent said they use a computer to watch internet-delivered TV, though the next most popular was not a large screened smart TV, but the smaller screened tablet (47 per cent) and even smaller screened smart phone (26 per cent)

The Conviva 2015 Viewer Experience Report also revealed that on average any given households has at least two devices playing at the same time. So while consumers are still glued to a larger computer screen, they are likely also keeping an eye on a smaller one. This is a not an either/or situation: it’s a both/and.

Conviva’s report, Don’t break the spell: Why reminding viewers they’re watching on the internet reduces engagement, asked about what drove viewers to choose a certain OTT service. A third made it clear that, all things being equal, they wanted to be sure they were getting a TV-quality experience. Unsurprisingly, the breadth of the content library was a very close second; but the results hint at a future in which even the best shows will quickly lose audience if delivered poorly.

The majority of respondents (59 per cent) subscribe to a pay service, and of these, almost a third said that it is the service’s content library which dictates whether they keep or cancel their subscription. This was followed by the availability and quality on connected devices and smart TVs (12 per cent and ten per cent, respectively), while only five per cent said that availability and quality on mobile was the most important factor in deciding whether to stay or to churn. To build a thriving business, the report concludes, service providers must emulate traditional pay-TV by providing a TV-like experience or risk losing paying customers.

Customers assert that they want to watch their subscription video services on larger screens, but what happens when the ‘illusion’ is broken, and they’re reminded that they’re not, in fact, watching traditional TV? Conviva asked viewers how long they were willing to stick with a sub- par experience.

When asked about short-form content (less than three minutes), one in three said they would abandon immediately. This data, though, is for short-form, for which nearly no consumer pays a subscription. What would be the tolerance of a viewer engaging with long form (15 minutes or more) content?
Significantly, one in three viewers still immediately abandons – the same proportion as for short form. In addition, seventy-seven per cent of respondents reports abandoning in four minutes or less, which clarifies the situation: viewers are unwilling to make allowances for the internet any longer, says the report. By the time the show has reached the ten-minute mark, less than one in ten consumers is still waiting if they don’t love the experience.

“The stakes have never been higher. It’s clear that, while consumers are flocking to OTT video, they don’t want to be reminded they are watching online,” commented Hui Zhang, CEO of Conviva. “Slow start times, interruptions, poor picture quality ­ all have considerable implications for providers, in terms of subscription retention and content monetisation. As content consumption moves away from the traditional TV-based model, broadcasters need to ensure their online platforms deliver a seamless experience regardless of the device used. Don’t break the spell, and take consumers away from the TV experience – deliver compelling, broadcast quality experiences, increase engagement and the dollars will follow.”