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Report: Has video quality reached a plateau?

NPAW's 2022 Video Streaming Industry Report found that Europe bucked the global trend, with the average bitrate increasing by 13 per cent

Global video-on-demand quality stabilised during 2022 according to a new report by video business intelligence company NPAW.

The company’s 2022 Video Streaming Industry Report found that global VoD quality stabilised, showing the fruits of significant cross-industry technology upgrades made in previous years.

The average bitrate for VoD marginally decreased (-1 per cent) in 2022, after a 17 per vent increase in 2021, suggesting the beginning of a plateau in VoD video quality, said the report.

However, in Europe, the average bitrate bucked that trend by increasing by 13 per cent.

“Globally, no upgrades were made in streaming quality, as providers played with the time it takes for the video playback to start to keep buffering at bay,” said the report.

This involved providers increasing the average join time (so that more of the programme loads before the viewer can play). However, this resulted in higher exit before video start rates as users had more time, and greater opportunity, to disconnect before playback started, added the report.

In comparison, global linear TV quality has increased, said the report, with average join time also increasing, suggesting providers are “implementing longer time lags to allow for higher-quality video to load in order to avoid mid-stream buffering,” said the report.

“With competition growing fiercer by the minute, it’s business-critical for streaming services to provide the right content and a superior streaming experience if they want to attract and retain users and maintain growth,” said Ferran G. Vilaró, CEO and co-founder of NPAW. “To do so, they need to leverage their platforms’ data to the fullest extent, implementing advanced analytics solutions that combine technical performance monitoring and user journey insights.”

The full report is available to download here.