With BBC iPlayer announcing that viewers will be able to watch their favourite shows on-demand for 30 days, rather than the previous maximum of seven, the question on everyone’s mind is what’s next for VOD?
Despite being in the relatively early stages of development, today’s connected consumers already expect a TV-like experience from VOD content across all their devices – regardless of their location – 24 hours a day. With faster broadband speeds and larger data packages largely expected to contribute to the trend, how can broadcasters ensure they are meeting – and exceeding – the growing performance needs of the on-demand viewer?
Consumer trends guiding the industry
Delivering a high quality experience to end users is the best way to ensure that a video on demand (VOD) service retains customers who have a plethora of options available to them on the market. Fast loading times that perform seamlessly across mobile and desktop platforms, all contained within a back-end architecture that accepts plug-ins across any programming language will ensure that viewers will be provided with the best possible experience.
But, rather than speculate about the best possible experience for today’s connected consumer, we went out and asked them about their experiences and expectations of VOD content. As part of the Brightcove study, we interviewed 2,000 consumers in the UK, US, France and Germany. We found that nowadays content publishers are in a tricky spot as consumers are now expecting more from their VOD experience than ever before.
Over half (55 percent) of the consumers involved in the study admitted that their expectations of VOD technology – and the VOD experience – have increased in the past two years. When asked to elaborate on how their expectations have changed:
- A third (32 percent) said they now expect VOD to be faster
- A fifth (20 percent) expect VOD content to be available across all devices
- A quarter (25 percent) expect a more seamless experience from VOD content
- Nearly a fifth (19 percent) think all broadcast content should be available on-demand; and an optimistic one in ten expect content to be on-demand even before it’s broadcast
In order to be seen as a more attractive offering than traditional TV, 67 percent of respondents agreed that VOD must offer better quality, uninterrupted streaming. But with consumer patience for slow loading video content low – over a third (34 percent) of viewers admitted to waiting less than 20 seconds before turning buffering content off – how can media companies keep up with the growing expectations of the connected consumer?
Implications for media companies and publishers
The most frustrating part of online video was found to be slow loading or buffering times (36 percent) – followed closely by ‘annoying adverts’ (28 percent) and not being able to get the same quality content across different devices (26 percent).
Coupled with the knowledge that viewers will only put up with these annoyances for a matter of seconds before losing interest, media companies must look to address these consumer concerns when developing video content online, as there really is no allowance for sub-standard streaming performance.
By pairing Brightcove’s newest product, Brightcove Perform, which entered the market last month as the fastest loading player (70% faster than the likes of YouTube), with the interactive user experience (UX) features of Brightcove Once, media companies can address the needs of each individual viewer by meeting their demands for fast performing, high quality video on demand.
Power with the people
Technology has advanced and been adopted by consumers at such a fast rate over the past few years that in some cases the industry is still playing catch-up. While it may sound simple, creating optimised VOD content is no easy feat with new devices and operating systems continually launched onto the market. In order to remain competitive and retain a loyal viewing audience, media companies need to ensure they are investing in the right tools to deliver a seamless, high quality VOD experience to their viewers – whatever device/OS they are using to access content.
About the Author
John Riske is the Director of Media Product Marketing at Brightcove, where he is responsible for marketing strategy for a range products focused on major Media. John joined Brightcove following the company’s acquisition of cloud-based video encoding pioneer Zencoder, where he was the director of business development and marketing. Prior to Zencoder, John was the Emerging Products Manager at Inlet Technologies, a video technology company acquired by Cisco Systems. John also worked in business development and marketing at Swarmcast, a pioneering Internet video technology provider.