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How do viewers engage with OTT videos

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MUMBAI: Akamai Technologies, a cloud delivery platform, has released new research demonstrating how quality of video resolution and playback affects viewers' engagement with and loyalty to over-the-top (OTT) video streaming services. Conveyed through advanced biometric measurement tools including facial coding and skin conductance, the findings underscore the importance of delivering consistent, high-quality video across any OTT business model.

Akamai research measures viewers' physical and emotional reactions to buffering and low-quality video; shows disengaged viewers in both free and subscription-based (SVoD & AVoD) models.

According to the study conducted by third-party research firm Sensum, viewers disengage with emotive storylines and react negatively to low-quality streaming incidents like buffering regardless of the brand or interest in the content. The research shows negative emotions increase 16 per cent while engagement decreases nearly 20 per cent as a result of these poor experiences. The survey also demonstrates that 76 per cent of participants say they would stop using a service if issues such as buffering occurred several times.

"This unique research shows there is no place for low-quality video in any streaming business model," said Akamai director of product marketing, media solutions, Ian Munford.

"The premium online video market is extremely competitive; the battle for revenue share is intense and subscriber acquisition costs are increasing, making differentiators like quality of experience more important than ever. Service providers cannot take risks with streaming experiences that are compromised by low resolution or buffering. They must provide consistent, high-quality experiences to help retain subscribers and reduce acquisition costs."

The research also found:

Subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) brands lose the most engagement due to buffering while transactional video-on-demand (TVoD) models suffer the most negative impact to brand loyalty if delivering low-quality experiences.
High-resolution video content with emotive storylines improve viewer engagement by more than 10 per cent

When buffering begins:
Happiness drops 14 per cent
Negative emotions (disgust and sadness) increase by an average of eight per cent
Viewers' feeling of surprise increases 27 per cent
Attention drops by three per cent and focus decreases by eight per cent

The study, one of the most comprehensive of its nature ever conducted, used a variety of testing procedures including sensory, implicit and explicit responses from more than 1,200 participants. All tests carried out adhered to the Video Quality Experts Group (VQEG) standards to ensure results could not be contaminated. Akamai also created fictitious brands to remove any previous emotional association with the business models and used the same content across all the brands to nullify the impact of content type on the respondents.

Meanwhile, Kaltura, a video technology provider, and Akamai entered into an agreement to extend their Net Alliance partnership to combine the power of Akamai's Predictive Content Delivery with Kaltura's TV Platform. Leveraging Akamai's Predictive Content Delivery and CDN products, along with the Kaltura TV Platform's deep customer behavior and content consumption intelligence, the joint solution facilitates predictive on-device caching of content, using smart resource management to efficiently download content in the background while on a strong Wi-Fi connection. The content is downloaded based on each user's profile and history, and offered to the customer at any time for smooth offline viewing on any device regardless of network connection and quality. The solution is designed to allow video content providers to offer each user their preferred content with an excellent viewing experience.

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