Will Buffering Blunt Web TV Biz Models?
According to the online video analytics firm, 81.2 percent of Web video viewers choose to click away when they encounter slow load times, or the video "rebuffers." And the rebuffering issue is not exactly rare, occurring in 6.84 percent of all video streams, according to TubeMogul.
“I think the technology will get there. It’s just not there yet. It really surprised me how common it is,” TubeMogul marketing director David Burch said regarding the number of viewers that abandon an online video when they encounter slow load times.
TubeMogul based its report on a sample of 192.3 million video streams delivered on six "top" video sites and platforms over a two-week period. The company wouldn’t name any individual Websites that encountered buffering problems, but the content delivery networks (CDNs) that delivered the videos were Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM), EdgeCast Networks Inc. , and Limelight Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW).
Both short-form videos running two to 10 minutes and full-length TV episodes were tracked in the report. Burch said the majority of the videos that viewers abandoned when encountering buffering problems were short-form clips, suggesting that viewers may be more patient when it comes to watching full-length TV episodes or movies online.
“I think the trend is much more pronounced for short-form content like a music video. Still, the rate at which people will get impatient, and click away, I think it will be an issue,” Burch added.
While some Web-savvy viewers are cutting the cord on cable TV and satellite providers and relying on broadband-fed services like Boxee and Roku Inc. for all their video needs, it's still just a budding trend. If buffering issues are as common as TubeMogul's report indicates, they could affect how much more rapidly (or slowly) consumers may rely solely on the Web-sourced video programming in the future. (See Ronen: Boxee Isn't a Cable Killer and Roku 'Store' Opens With 10 Channels .)
Burch says the statistics could also influence advertisers that are investing in Web video programming. “The stakes are higher. Every day, there are more [online video] ads. These problems, unless they’re addressed, can have a profound impact on an advertiser."
TubeMogul noted that slow load times and rebuffering issues will become a bigger issue for Web publishers as the size of online video audiences continues to grow.
“CDN imperfections like these will be increasingly relevant to the publishers’ bottom lines. When you consider that one out of 25 streams experiences a rebuffer and most people click away when that happens, it’s probably fair to conclude that far fewer ads are getting clicked (or watched),” the company wrote in its report.
— Steve Donohue, Special to Cable Digital News