Broadcasters Losing Revenue From Poor Quality Downloads

New research from Vividas — a streaming manufacturer — suggests that issues including complicated set up, slow-to-download files and crashing content are costing broadcasters up to £50,000 a year.
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New research from Vividas — a streaming manufacturer — suggests that issues including complicated set up, slow-to-download files and crashing content are costing broadcasters up to £50,000 a year.

These technical issues are cited as a major barrier to consumer take-up of watching video online, according to the company.

The research also shows that poor picture quality and incomplete downloads cost a quarter of broadcasters up to £10,000 in customer refunds and the resolving of IT issues. Interestingly, streaming video was found to be five times less frustrating for the viewer than battling with content that is delivered as a download.

These findings demonstrate the frustrations many consumers currently experience. Playing a full-sized, downloaded file on the average home computer can often crash the system, requiring re-starts and re-loading of content from scratch. Furthermore, the download can take a long time — an average of 90 minutes for a movie and up to 40 minutes to receive a full episode of a soap opera or serial drama.

These enormous data packages can also cause headaches for ISPs, which are already experiencing problems in delivering increasing volumes of media-rich traffic across their networks. Delivery issues can only rise as consumers continue to scour the net for video.

Andrew Wilding, European CEO at Vividas said: "We were surprised at quite how much revenue is lost through technology issues for online video. Unless broadcasters improve their technology soon this cost will only increase as consumer demand rises.

"Our research clearly shows that broadcasters expect consumer demand to kick in by 2009, leaving them only 18 months to address the current problems associated with online video and get the right technology in place".

The top line results of the study reveal that:

  • Downloaded content is costing broadcasters up to £50,000 a year.
  • Technical issues and customer service are cited as the major culprits.
  • Poor picture quality and incomplete downloads cost a quarter of broadcasters up to £10,000 in customer refunds and the resolving of IT issues.
  • Streaming video is found to be five times less frustrating for the viewer than battling with content that is delivered as a download.

The research methodology included telephone interviews conducted by research company, The Survey Shop, (commissioned by Vividas) with 100 broadcast companies in the UK. The average movie size was assumed to be about 600–700 MB, equating to around 2 hours of playing time. An average 700 MB movie file takes approximately 1 hour, 33 minutes to download on an average household broadband connection of 1 Mbps and transfer speed of 128 kBps, according to DivXmovies.com.