Academy blog

Quality of Experience (QoE): Option or Need?

Quality of Experience has become an overused term in the online video industry, but also one of the big challenges that online broadcasters and OTT´s have to deal with. Even more now, a period in which users spend more time connected to the digital world than to reality. Moreover, expectations and requirements of viewers have increased and will keep growing every day, especially when we speak about having a perfect online experience.

Internet has become the best partner for users, especially when is about its audiovisual content (movies, TV series, sport events, etc.), and it is very important  that nothing ruins this experience. They want to watch their favorite shows without buffering and with the best quality possible, otherwise they get frustrated, and it is very easy to express that frustration. Thanks to social networks, users have a very powerful weapon that can  dramatically affect your business image and revenues.

On the other hand, every company in this industry knows that controlling streaming quality is a difficult/challenging task, but not impossible. They know that although inevitable difficulties will show up, the main problem will rise if we do not have the right tools to work on it, which could end up affecting the involvement and engagement of users. In this sense: is Quality a major issue? Yes, absolutely. Our data show that users with no quality problems watch 50% more videos.

There is a vast complexity in the streaming media and on-demand audiovisual market. Mainly in this time of versatility, where users´ live in a “hyperconnected” world that keeps growing progressively and through just one click they can abandon their online video provider. We understand how hard it is for providers to guarantee viewers a perfect online video experience nowadays. In times like this, when the uncertainty is present all the time many questions arise. We wonder how important QoE has become for users? Is it that QoE is an option for OTT´s or by the demand of people it has become a need?

On the 1st of February 2015 NBCUniversal decided to broadcast through live streaming  one of the most watched events in the United States; the Super Bowl. It was the first time ever that the NBC transmitted the Super Bowl XLIX with the halftime show, pre-game and post-game for free. Normally to enjoy NBC´s live streaming online, the user is required to log-in to a cable or satellite TV provider.

Inside their campaign ¨Watch TV Without The TV¨ NBC launched ¨Super Stream Sunday¨, which gives users 11 hours of free live streaming of the Super Bowl and its hit show The Blacklist. The purpose of NBC´s initiative was to encourage viewers to trial the service in order for cheer users to sign up for cable service so that customers can watch TV everywhere either online or cable.

Although the numbers show it was a record breaking event, fan´s weren’t completely happy. They complained that the quality wasn’t good enough and thestreaming was delayed. Viewers spread this out on Social Networks, magazines and blogs, making it public for everyone and affecting the company´s image.

What can you do to solve these types of problems and make your viewers happier? Monitor the content to maximize the process of user´s online content. There are tools to do so, as our YOUBORA platform that tracks and monitors viewers’ online video experience in real time, which makes it possible to identify any incidence broadcasters may have. This tool provides the necessary information to address any issue you may have related to QoE.

In other words, it works as a useful mechanism that easily identifies where and how you should approach any problem. Time is crucial, users have many other options and are impatient; therefore having the advantage of monitoring and tracking every movement allows you to make quick decisions when it matters most, guaranteeing the best video quality by preventing the emergence of online videos problems.

So, as a reply to our first question stated at the beginning, how important has QoE become for users? Very important, they want to watch material wherever and whenever they want with any device. Furthermore, they have power thanks to social networks. Thus, the future of your business and success will depend on your ability to prevent viewers from abandoning you giving them QoE because what they say about you can affect your credibility and image.

Is it that QoE is an option for OTT´s or by the demand of people it has become a need? In a competitive marketplace where players are progressively offering more options in content, QoE will pass from being an option to being a need. This will be the key to differentiate your video platform, which will make you viewers engage and keep you on the game of online audiovisual content providers. For that reason, controlling every aspect of viewers´ online video experience guarantees engagement, satisfaction and customer loyalty.

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Image William Iven via Unspalsh

James Noeker on February 16th 2015

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