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Buffering ‘costs streamers $85K in lost revenue’

Buffering only has to happen 1 per cent of the time to have a major impact on revenues

A single instance of rebuffering can cost streaming companies $85,000 in lost revenue according to a new report from Akamai.

According to Akamai’s Understanding the Value of Consistency in OTT Video Delivery report, the $85,000 figure comes from a look at the volume of video traffic for a major US network between June 2017 and June 2018, totalling 370 million video plays. Akamai used its Media Analytics tool to determine that each instance of rebuffering results in a 1 per cent abandonment rate. Averaging the play duration, Akamai determined that one rebuffer translates into 497,417 hours lost, or 10.7 million ad impressions. At a CPM of $8, a rebuffer lose $85,500.

The link between rebuffering and viewer engagement make its avoidance a top priority for most service providers. According to one senior manager at a major broadcaster interviewed for the report, customer engagement drops significantly the more they see the “spinning wheel.” The manager said the goal is to keep the amount of rebuffering below 0.5 per cent, which results in 90 per cent of sessions being completed. When that numbers rise from 0.5-1 per cent that number drops to 80 per cent, and when it is more than 1 per cent the rate drops to 50 per cent.