Buffering could be £45MN per month problem for UK streaming
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| 23 November 2022
Almost two-fifths of streaming consumers have unsubscribed from a service due to buffering issues, and poor video quality and buffering issues could cost video streamers as much as £45 million per month says research from streaming infrastructure provider Bitmovin.
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The research was conducted by an external research agency to distribute the survey, collect data and provide results from 1000 respondents across the UK.

Putting the issue into context, Bitmovin said that with the ongoing cost of living crisis in the UK and the ongoing streaming battle for subscribers, the research findings demonstrate to video streamers that poor video quality and buffering are potentially deal-breaking issues for consumers. Indeed, nearly a quarter of Brits (23%) would drop a streaming service with poor video quality.

The research found It takes at least 13.4 seconds of buffering on average before consumers consider unsubscribing from any video entertainment provider. However, Bitmovin stressed that not all content is created equal when it comes to buffering: respondents are more tolerant of buffering when it comes to eLearning content, only considering unsubscribing after 15.5 seconds of buffering. Fitness and free streaming platforms like YouTube came second with 14.3 seconds, and consumers considered unsubscribing from paid-for streaming services after 13.3 seconds.

The research also found that almost one in four (19%) Brits valued the ability to use a streaming service across all devices as one of the top three reasons to keep a subscription. Mobile phones were the second most popular choice for viewing streamed content (26%), behind connected TVs (48%) - and much higher than tablets (10%) and laptops (8%).

With Netflix now offering an ad-supported, lower-cost subscription model, and Disney+ to launch its ad supported tier on the 8 December, the research had some additional insights into consumer sentiment around ad-supported video streaming subscriptions. When it comes to a paid subscription model, the majority (58%, rising to 67% in those aged 18-35) are happy to pay that little bit extra for an ad-free experience.

Most viewers (60%) are happy to tolerate ads when it comes to free streaming services. However, it seems if paying for a subscription, no matter the cost, they would like ad-free content.

Looking at gender differences, male respondents were also found to be more impatient than female respondents. For paid streaming services, male respondents would only tolerate 12 seconds of buffering before considering unsubscribing, whereas females would tolerate 14 seconds.

“We are in an era of technology-driven experiences, and so, within this tech-savvy generation, streamers need to go above and beyond just offering entertaining content," commented Bitmovin CEO, and founder Stefan Lederer. "The consumer, especially when paying for these services, also wants a seamless and enjoyable experience. Streamers need to realise that it’s not just great content that will help them win out but also top-notch delivery of its content”.