An online survey conducted by Edgeware with streaming media expert Dan Rayburn has revealed the limited visibility streaming TV providers have into their customers’ quality of experience (QoE) and the relatively few opportunities they have in real time to correct problems that impact on quality. The survey, conducted in May 2020 with 250 broadcasters, OTT service providers, cable companies, publishers and brands, explores the video quality issues that streaming TV customers encounter, and how QoE problems are currently diagnosed and solved.
The findings were unveiled by Dan Rayburn and Edgeware’s senior director of business development, Peter Sergel, in a live webinar called ‘Determining what impacts end user video quality the most!’ on 15 September. The webinar is now available on demand.
Priorities and Challenges
For many streaming TV providers who rely on third-party or multiple-CDN distribution, it can be difficult to achieve real-time visibility and control of their customers’ video quality. But video quality remains one of the most important factors in retaining customers and securing their loyalty. To better understand the issues contributing to these difficulties, Edgeware and Rayburn’s survey asked streaming TV providers about their priorities, challenges and abilities when it comes to solving video quality issues.
Among other findings, the survey revealed that QoE issues are widespread. 73.2% of participants said that their customers have suffered from inadequate delivery at some point, with only 26.8% saying that their customers have rarely or never suffered from a poor experience due to content delivery issues.
A large percentage of customers are inclined to abandon a service due to QoE issues. Almost 40% of participants said their customers make a couple of attempts to playback video and then eventually quit when experiencing QoE issues, impacting customer loyalty and brand affinity.
Streaming providers have limited QoE visibility and means to correct issues in real time. Almost 20% of participants know that their customers have QoE issues but don’t have a way to see specifically how they are affecting the user experience. Almost 30% aren’t using any kind of QoE analytics system, and of the 70% who do have such a system, 55% of them have no mechanisms in place to correct the issues in real time, implying that they have limited means to optimise video quality. Nevertheless, 44% of the participants believe real-time monitoring and management are critical to their success.
Single Manual Approach
A single manual approach is typical for preparing media to stream. 25% of participants said they don’t shape streams or bitrates, so that all users in all of their markets and networks receive the same bitrates. Furthermore, over one-third manually re-configure master manifests at certain events to reduce traffic, which can be resource-heavy and detrimental if left unmanaged.
“Video quality is a value parameter which enables OTT service providers to attract advertisers and audiences. So, when video quality is jeopardised, it’s essential to react quickly and fix it without highlighting any problems to the customer,” said Dan Rayburn. “For multiple-CDN distribution, the streaming TV providers that take advantage of a QoE analytics solution can strengthen their business.”
“We conducted the survey to better understand our customers’ position on facing QoE issues. With around half of the survey’s participants confirming that they would like to monitor and manage their infrastructure and viewers’ performance within 1 to 3 seconds, it suggests that many streaming TV providers industry-wide have a desire for real-time QoE insights and control,” said Peter Sergel.
Cloud-Based Delivery Control
One of Edgeware’s reasons for conducting this survey was to assist in the development of their own product, the StreamPilot cloud-based delivery control platform, which is built to solve the challenges considered in this survey. StreamPilot’s server-side QoE monitoring identifies the early key indicators of CDN performance issues by assessing every segment request from the client.
As soon as a client asks for a segment at a lower bitrate than what is available, StreamPilot has an early indication that the CDN is not performing at 100%. With this information, StreamPilot creates the option to move the stream to another CDN during the ongoing session, avoiding a quality problem for the end user. This process can also be automated to make sure video streams are always delivered through the most optimized CDN.
StreamPilot delivers in-stream CDN selection based on relevant session data. This, combined with information such as client location and which ISP it is connected to, gives insights to detect and prevent quality issues. StreamPilot is a cloud-based service and operates totally independent of the delivering CDN, client device type and video formats. www.edgeware.tv