Accenture recently did a study on Video Over Internet Consumers and there were some pretty interesting findings in the report. Today I’m going to look at perceived problems with online video from the consumer standpoint which had some pretty surprising stuff.
The survey was conducted as an online omnibus among 7,503 consumers between 24 February and 2 March 2012. The countries covered were Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US. The fieldwork survey is handled by an external agency on behalf of Accenture.
Consumer Issues & Concerns with Online Video
The number one problem or concern is video advertising. That’s really something since, again according to comScore Video Metrix for March just 51.2% of the US population was hit by online video ads. Then again, Hulu does bombard viewers with an astounding 50.7 ads per viewer each month. Next closest was ESPN with 26.4. Maybe the 13% who responded from the US were all Hulu users?
The second largest concern was time to buffer or download a video. However, with the prolific spread of high-speed broadband in the US I don’t think that’s a problem. I can get a video streaming from an online service in a matter of seconds and I’ve only got about a 16Mbps Internet connection. I guess, as an industry we should take that as we need to use better compression algorithms and technologies.
The flip side of that, of course, if video quality and that was the third-most-popular concern, video quality. So if we do try new data compression techniques we have to make sure that we don’t sacrifice quality of resolution. Again, here at the office, we’ve got a projector throwing up an 8-foot image and many of the ads getting injected into online streams are 4:3, standard definition atrocities that make my eyes hurt when they break up a nice 720p stream. Those streams we watch that aren’t 720p but in the SD range are eye-watering enough without the ads sometimes.
Some other concerns for one in five respondents was cost of the content and cost of downloading the video or the cost of the bandwidth to do so. I don’t have any data on how many of those countries have metered bandwidth but this would again go to compression on the video content I think as well as balancing the price for the video or subscription versus perceived value by the consumer. Personally, $3 for a single TV episode is ridiculous, especially when it was aired for free on broadcast TV and many could simply set up their DVR rig and keep the content indefinitely, like I do with some.
Navigation was an issue for some respondents. Internet video, IPTV and streaming become more dominant and prolific, consumers will become less tolerant of shoddy user interfaces because we’ve come to expect a certain level of quality. Look at the progression of the TV programming guide if you need proof. It used to be we would crack open a newspaper or TV Guide to get the info we needed, then find the remote and change the channel. That went to an actual channel with TV listings that scrolled without any user control, which wasted a lot of our time waiting for the channel we were looking for to scroll back round. Then came the interactive channel guide where you could skip to the channel you wanted and push a button to get there. Now it’s a combination of that and being able to check the guide without having to even leave the channel you’re on.
That’s the sort of evolution that IPTV providers are going to have to supply and I think, for the most part, is happening. But the moment you start getting lazy and resting on your laurels is when the world and the users will pass you by for some other service with a better interface, better price vs. value and better quality… even if it’s the exact same content.