In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - 24


24

www.inbroadcast.com | IBC2016 InShow Guide | 9-13 September

'Buffer Rage' is
No Laughing Matter
By Kurt Michel, Senior Marketing Director, Ineoquest...

E

arlier this year, IneoQuest
published the results of a survey
we commissioned regarding how online
viewers react to poor streaming video
quality.
We coined the term "Buffer Rage"
(see infographic) defined as "a state
of uncontrollable fury or violent anger
induced by the delayed or interrupted
enjoyment of streaming video content
from over-the-top (OTT) services".
While we thought the term would
be quickly understood by anyone
who has experienced the "spinning
wheel of waiting," we did have our
tongue planted firmly in cheek with
that "definition." But the response
and interest in the research went far
beyond expectations! In addition to
a variety of industry-focused media
outlets, the Buffer Rage stats were also
reported by Digital Trends, Quartz,
Huffington Post, and even USA Today.
We even found it referenced in posts
"down under". Clearly, we hit a nerve.
It's A Real Problem
No one should experience "violent
anger" over the fact that their video
will not play, right? That is, in essence,
what makes the "Buffer Rage"
concept humorous? Video is primarily
associated
with
entertainment,
so "uncontrollable fury" about it

is perceived by most people as a
humorous over-reaction. After all,
nobody gets hurt, right?
Will "Buffer Rage" always be funny?
Let's consider that. Our survey
indicated that buffering during live
sporting events was more prone to
induce rage than any other type of
entertainment content. Sports fans
tend to be emotionally engaged, which
is why so much attention and money is
spent on streaming live sports events
like the Rio Olympics (which I am
streaming as I write this). Emotional
investment is why a 30-second delay
from live is considered a real problem,
because the delay makes streaming
viewers feel "left behind" broadcast
viewers.
But what happens when the
emotional investment goes beyond the
sports fan level when the buffering or
stream failure occurs? What if you are
a salesperson, and you need to review
a potential client's web video material
so that you can tune your sales pitch
for a meeting in 15 minutes? What if
your manager sends you an urgent
video message and you cannot get it
to play?
Or maybe you are a parent and your
school-age child is doing a report
on a documentary for their class
tomorrow. Will "Buffering" become

that generation's "my dog ate my
homework"?
The Internet in 1985 was primarily a
tool for researchers, and consumers
did not need it. But today, most of us
would find it difficult to live without. A
bad Internet connection is no longer
funny. I bet the concept of "road
rage" would have been humorous
when the Model T ruled the road,
when driving was a novelty. It is the
transition from novelty to necessity
that makes the difference. Online
video is clearly being used for more
than entertainment now, and the more
we use it, the more critical it becomes.
Novelty becomes necessity.
The OTT industry is in transition from
adolescence to maturity. From a time
when "buffer raging" is funny to a time
when a buffering video is in the critical
path between a person's success or
failure. How long that transition will
take is subjective. In a report published
in July by Digital TV Europe and
Intraway, 130 senior industry figures
from more than 50 countries identified
"consistent viewing quality without
buffering, pixelation or freezing" as
the most important factor in delivering
a successful OTT service. Eighty-five
percent of the respondents said this
was "very important," with 14 percent
judging it "moderately important."

Clean Playback Vital
The top three ranked factors were
related to playback quality -more
important than content or price.
Clearly, the industry recognises the
need for quality.
So how do we consistently achieve
high playback quality? It takes
continuous improvement, requiring
consistent measurement and root
cause identification when issues do
inevitably occur. Some providers
use endpoint monitoring, simply
measuring the playback experience for
all viewers. This passive, reactive type
of testing can tell you when something
is wrong, and possibly how the viewer
responded to it - but only after a poor
experience was delivered. And there is
little to tell you why it happened and
how to fix it. Other providers will focus
on network performance at various
locations,
using
synthetic-based
active testing at multiple locations to
determine if - and at what quality -
the content can be played. Still other
providers will focus on testing their
content at the head-end, before it hits
the network, because mistakes there
will affect all viewers.
Each of these approaches is
necessary, but insufficient. The
battle against buffer rage will be
won when all of these approaches
are coordinated through an analysis
system that combines and correlates
the content, network, and endpoint
playback quality data - the operational
intelligence - with the viewer's
response to it - the behavioral
intelligence - so that the provider can
look at their video service from many
perspectives, pinpoint trouble spots,
and gain the actionable intelligence
needed to provide the continuous
improvement our industry requires,
and our viewers demand.
When 'Buffer Rage' is no longer
funny, the providers with the
intelligence needed to prevent it will
still be able to laugh.
www.ineoquest.com


http://www.inbroadcast.com http://www.ineoquest.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016

In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - Intro
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - Cover1
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - Cover2
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - 3
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - 4
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In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - Cover3
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - Cover4
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - S1
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - S2
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - S3
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - S4
In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - S5
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In Broadcast - In Show Guide 2016 - S11
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