Study identifies top MSO concern over video quality

Video quality problems rank as the main reason for customer support calls to cable MSOs, according to a Symmetricom-commissioned study released March 31.

The study, “2007 Cable Operator Video Quality Study,” is an independent survey conducted by Multimedia Research Group (MRG) aimed at assessing cable operators' requirements for video quality test, measurement and monitoring solutions.

In February, the company released a similar independent study regarding the IPTV market with results that somewhat parallel those of the latest study. (See: “IPTV providers harbor deep concern over monitoring video quality, says study.”)

The latest study confirms that video quality monitoring continues to be central to cable operators, yet they don't feel they currently have the right tools implemented to measure it accurately from the customers' perspective. In addition, cable operators indicated that service quality problems are one of the main reasons for customer support calls, resulting in a significant reason for customer churn.

Key results include:

  • 90.4 percent report end-user video quality monitoring as either "critical," "very important" or "important" to their video initiatives.
  • 61.9 percent said they learn of video quality problems via customer phone calls.
  • 31 percent said they use network monitoring tools to discover quality problems.
  • 80 percent said that service quality problems are the reasons for high support calls.
  • 40 percent said Video-on-Demand (VOD) is the service causing the most quality problems today, while 51.6 percent said HDTV is expected to produce the most quality problems one year from now.
  • 58.1 percent said that end-user quality of experience (QoE) is "critical" and needs to be monitored.
  • The top issues with current monitoring solutions deployed today are: They are not an accurate measure of end-user experience, and they are too costly.
  • 68 percent said that cost is the biggest reason for customer churn, while service quality problems were next with 40 percent.

In December 2007, Symmetricom commissioned MRG to do an independent survey of executives from operations groups in top tier U.S. MSOs. The survey received responses from nine MSOs, all within the top 20 MSOs in the United States The study was conducted using a written survey questionnaire, and many were interviewed additionally by phone.

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