The way that we consume video content has changed drastically in the last ten years. Thanks to the rise of services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, viewers are now in the driving seat and are able to choose what they watch, when they watch it and how they watch it. As publishers capitalise on this trend and start launching VoD offerings, viewers’ expectations regarding the quality of the content has not changed.
In a 2015 report, it was found that one in three consumers will quit an online streaming session almost immediately if the picture is grainy or constantly interrupted. Conversely, for live streaming events, viewers will watch content 140 per cent longer when they do not experience stream interruptions. However, just as consumer expectations and demands are growing exponentially, so is the complexity of delivering great video service: devices are proliferating, bandwidth variability between providers is splintering, and preferences for larger screens continue to increase.
Now that OTT is a fully-fledged business model, publishers need a blueprint to build and optimise their OTT business to deliver the best experience. Viewing quality is essential to maximising engagement, but with viewers increasingly watching beyond the living room, companies need a better insight into the actual experience each viewer receives regardless of device, network or location. Great content alone is necessary, but insufficient in an environment where experience can, and must, be managed.
The AVoD opportunity
While advertising is often overlooked, it’s a vitally important piece of the quality of experience puzzle when it comes to online video. Too often companies determine ad placement with little insight into how the frequency, duration and placement of ads impact viewer engagement. The industry as a whole is only scratching the surface on understanding how advertising affects video engagement, and organisations who aren’t striving to take the guesswork out of ad placement risk leaving money on the table or losing viewers.
The result is that many consumers complaining of ‘ad fatigue’ as they get frustrated by the ad volume, length or placement and quality of experience. Added to that, as the viewing audience increasingly moves online they are becoming victim to the fact that online video ads are also subject to buffering and delivery issues. All this considered, publishers face an inexplicably tough balancing act trying to optimise ad revenues while maintaining consumers’ video engagement.
Winning with experience
The business of TV is continuously moving towards the internet, and viewers are demanding OTT content at their fingertips, willingly migrating to the open and unpredictable internet medium to fulfil their TV viewing needs. The difficulty for media companies and content providers, however, is that consumers demand the same TV quality viewing experience across multiple devices in an environment not built for video – the internet. The future of OTT will be won by publishers and advertisers which develop and follow an experience blueprint model that maximises customer engagement by prioritising and optimising viewers’ quality of experience.
By Ed Haslam, chief marketing officer, Conviva