Do we have any hope of surviving the multi-screen, place shifting consumer?
If you are reading this post then you already know that video has taken over the Internet, so I will spare you a paragraph of needless recitals from the latest industry polls stating as such. Instead I wish to discuss an overlooked solution, known as media optimization, to the video congestion problem, and the positive impact it can have on revenue in the form of ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).
Though the death of TV is a popular blogging subject these days, the fact is, consumers are watching more entertainment content than ever. However, today’s entertainment experience is now spread across multiple devices and screens. For a content distributor or streaming service provider, the day to day operational challenges are coming from the ever widening device platforms that need to be supported, as well as the ever-increasing “unmanaged” environments where the consumer expectation for quality is higher than ever. Accenture in their 2015 Digital Consumer Survey found that 33% of TV viewers who watch long form video on IP connected devices complained about buffering or slow start-times as a result of their expectations for a seamless HD content experience.
It seems in the consumer’s view, an iPad Retina should be streaming the same gorgeous video quality as their 60” premium quality HDTV connected to a cable or satellite box. Lost to the customer is the fact that the iPad is streaming over a Wi-Fi network which is likely connected to a congested Internet connection, while the HDTV is connected to wired set-top box. Do you remember when a 20mbps Internet package felt like overkill?
As in life, it’s easy to identify problems but more difficult to find solutions, so rather than dwell on the challenges presented by shifting user behavior and an increasingly crowded Internet I want to introduce a viable solution called media optimization.
Media optimization is a method whereby a digital video file is further compressed beyond the limits of modern day encoder technologies. Though different techniques and approaches are used, only solutions that are able to retain the original perceptual quality can be viable, as sacrificing video quality in order to save bit-rate is a recipe for customer complaints, reduced ARPU and lost revenue opportunities.
How media optimization impacts ARPU
The subject of streaming quality is a complex one since there are multiple technologies and platforms that must all come together at precisely the right time and in the right way in order for a viewer to have a satisfying experience. For this reason, it’s no wonder that a perfect streaming experience continues to be elusive for even the biggest players in the field. However, it is possible to deliver a better experience today than yesterday with the addition of a single step to your workflow, and this is media optimization.
Media optimization can reduce buffering events by nearly 50%, and improve stream start times by up to 20% across viewing sessions. This can be a huge service differentiator as Conviva reported in their most recent 2015 Viewer Experience report that 28.8% of video views in 2014 suffered from buffering. Furthermore, 58.4% of views suffered from low resolution, which was likely driven by the nature of ABR (Adaptive Bit Rate) switching down profiles as the player attempted to maintain a steady consistent stream rather than buffer.
It stands to reason that a smaller file will transverse the network with greater ease than a larger file. Which means media optimizations is an ideal tool for improving streaming user experience for any service that wishes to increase viewing time and customer satisfaction. These will create higher revenues for ad-driven services by increasing ad viewing time, reduce churn for subscription services, and create more frequent rentals for transactional VOD models.
Thank you for reading. I love digital media and have an excellent understanding of the challenges today’s streaming service operators face, as well as the solutions that are available to them and I would be happy to discuss your specific needs. You may contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.