Nielsen Mobile Video Services Give Broadcasters Something to Think About

NEW YORK—Broadcasters contemplating ATSC 3.0 mobile delivery take note: Nielsen has announced a new service aimed at evaluating IP-based video content delivery.

While the service, Nielsen Mobile Video Performance, is focused on collecting and examining data on the network performance of mobile operators, ISPs, device makers and content providers—no mention of OTA IP packet delivery in an ATSC 3.0 world—the new offering has already produced data broadcasters might find helpful as they gauge how best to divvy up their bits to deliver the cornucopia of services now available thanks to the next-generation TV standard.

Data released with the announcement of the new service shows that those mobile operators that Nielsen refers to as “most notable” deliver 720p HD or greater 69 percent of the time, the company said. On the opposite end of the mobile continuum—presumably where one would find the “least notable” mobile operators—HD-quality video is delivered 39 percent of the time. Overall, the industry average of HD-quality video delivery is 53 percent, the Nielsen Mobile Video Performance data revealed.

For broadcasters planning to leverage ATSC 3.0’s Scalable High-efficiency Video Coding (SHVC) as part of a future mobile deployment, that Nielsen data of the competitive landscape may prove to be valuable when considering how many bits to deliver over the air vs. over the top, how many and what type of services to deliver and other factors.

Interest in watching video on mobile devices has never been higher in the United States. In the first quarter of 2017, monthly smartphone-based consumption of video skyrocketed 81.5 percent year-over-year from 151 minutes in 2016 to 274 minutes in 2017, Nielsen said.

Data from the new Nielsen service shows that consumers in Orlando, Fla., Portland, Ore., and Seattle have the best video viewing experiences and receive HD video more often than those in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The findings, based on Nielsen Mobile Video Performance data collected from 120,000 tests conducted on mobile devices from September through October, reveal that those in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Houston receive HD video less often than the national average, the company said.

Nielsen Mobile Video Performance will focus on understanding streaming video quality on mobile and Wi-Fi networks as well as providing benchmark data for the industry and rating players on factors that create good user experiences.

“With the growth in mobile video usage, operators need to know how well they are meeting consumer demand,” said Nielsen Service Quality SVP Mike Greenawald in a press release announcing the service.

Among the key performance indicators Nielsen is evaluating are:

· Video resolution: Time watching low mobile resolution to HD on a percentage basis;

· Startup time: How long it takes to load and begin playing a video;

· Rebuffering: Duration of video stalls during playback; and

· Video success rate: The ability to launch and play a video in one minute.

Active and passive video tests conducted on the mobile devices of 70,000 Nielsen panel participants in the United States are providing data for the evaluation. The passive approach records data on daily mobile usage, including network speeds of video platforms. Active testing examines the delivery and execution of pre-selected content focused on resolution, startup times and stalls, Nielsen said.

Together the testing is intended to paint a holistic picture of network performance by region, offer viewer consumption intelligence, provide insights to maximize ROI, inform product development and refine market segmentation, the company said.

“Our initial results point to some wide variances in the ability to deliver high-quality video content consistently,” said Greenawald.

More information about Nielsen Mobile Video Performance is available on the company’s website.

For a comprehensive list of TV Technology’s ATSC 3.0 coverage, see our ATSC3 silo.

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.