OTT viewers watch content across all their devices in any given day—smartphones, tablets, CTVs, PCs, and more. In fact, according to Conviva’s Q2 2020 State of Streaming report, time spent streaming video increased 63% year over year across the globe, with growth seen on all devices. That’s why, for OTT providers, it’s become increasingly important to ensure a flawless experience on every platform.
Whether out and about or staying at home, throughout the day a user may watch video on their smartphone in the morning, their PC during working hours, and then their CTV after dinner—or any combination of these behaviors. And on each platform there is an opportunity for frustration, as users commonly face startup delays, buffering and video quality issues. In fact, Conviva’s study also reported that, globally, video start times were 5% worse in Q2 2020 than Q2 2019.
Experiential issues like this are often not the fault of the OTT provider but are instead caused by the last mile issues, such as congested cellular or overloaded wifi networks. Providers pay CDNs to store content closer to viewers, and while this helps with speed and quality, users are still subject to frequent delays and dips in video quality, especially if their connection is spotty or overloaded by too many people using it at once.
Poor experiences on any platform can lead to stream abandonment, ad delivery failure, churn, and poor reviews, which combined contribute to massive loss of revenue for providers. Yet more and more OTT video providers are offering a solution to their viewers: extending the edge all the way to their devices to significantly reduce last mile streaming problems. This is called the “personal edge,” as it goes past the CDN to each viewer’s personal screen.
The personal edge has positive effects on end-users and streaming providers. For viewers, this extended edge enables them to download video content to their devices so that they can watch their shows and movies seamlessly without any issues. For providers, this leads to longer session times, increased engagement, reduced churn, and an improved bottom line. For providers of ad-supported video, this also leads to more successful ad deliveries and a significantly bigger revenue opportunity.
OTT providers who don’t offer the personal edge not only risk revenue loss from frustrated users who may think it’s the providers’ fault their videos aren’t playing well. They are also risking losing those viewers to their competitors who do offer a personal edge solution to viewing problems. Though video streaming has increased greatly in 2020, the streaming wars are still waging on. And while there’s a lot of money on the table for the industry, the only ones who will get it are the ones who foster loyalty by providing the best experience across all devices.
To learn more about creating a better streaming experience, check out our last blog post: The Increasing Importance of Mobile and a Cross-Platform Strategy