Online Video: The Clock Is Ticking

Feb. 20, 2013
Video performance can affect monetization of an online video service, according to a new study by Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM). The availability, start time and rebuffering of a video can have an impact on viewer behavior. In turn, if someone watches more o...
Video performance can affect monetization of an online video service, according to a new study by Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ:AKAM). The availability, start time and rebuffering of a video can have an impact on viewer behavior. In turn, if someone watches more of a particular video and becomes a repeat visitor, there is more opportunity for displaying advertisements."The key finding is that performance of video has a quantifiable impact on viewer behavior ... (and) we already know viewer behavior affects business goals," Dr. Ramesh Sitaraman, Akamai fellow, said during a webinar, "Understanding Online Audience Engagement."The three main relationships in the study were startup delay/abandonment, rebuffering/audience engagement (how long a viewer watches), and availability/repeat viewership.Specifically, Akamai found that viewers will give a video about 2 seconds to start playing before they lose patience and begin abandoning the content. At the 5-second mark, one-fourth of the people give up, and at 10 seconds viewership is cut in half. Essentially, after the 2-second grace period, 6% of an audience abandons a video each second.There are some variances. Mobile users tended to be more patient than fiber or cable customers, and people waiting to watch movies were more willing to wait than those selecting news clips or shorter-form content. "Time is relative, and patience is influenced by expectation of speed," Sitaraman said. "(Likewise,) patience is related to perceived value."Additionally, rebuffering delays occurring during just 1% of a video cause viewers to watch 5% less than those who do not experience their video freezing up. And a site visitor is 37% more likely to return the next day if the video they select to watch does not fail.The study utilized data from Akamai's streaming network, including 23 million video views from 6.7 million unique viewers. In order to eliminate variables and focus specifically on video performance, users were matched according to factors such as geography and type of device. The only variable was that one experienced good video performance and the other poor quality.The reason for the study, said Sitaraman, is illustrated by a Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) forecast suggesting that by 2016, 86% of consumer Internet traffic will be video. If these numbers can be leveraged, there is an opportunity to build audiences and create new revenue streams. "Video providers need to figure out how to keep users on their website and how to keep them watching," Sitaraman said.He also referenced comScore's (NASDAQ:SCOR) monthly online video statistics. The most recent numbers indicated 182 million U.S. Internet users watching 38.7 billion online content videos in December, with video ad views totaling 11.3 billion.In other news, comScore also recently released a special report, "2013 U.S. Digital Future in Focus," which notes that currently the demand for "high-impact video advertising" outweighs the supply and predicts online advertising will have continued momentum.Monta Monaco Hernon is a free-lance writer. She can be reached at [email protected].

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