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Majority of U.S. Viewers Experience Delays of 5 Seconds or More on Mobile Videos, New Report by Penthera Shows


Viewer survey shows 66% stream videos on mobile weekly or more often, while 88% report experiencing frustrations.

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, May 20, 2020 / -- Mobile video streaming is skyrocketing in popularity in the U.S., and the number of mobile viewers is projected to grow globally from 2.16 billion in 2019 to 2.72 billion in 2023, according to eMarketer. Yet delays and buffering are still rampant as 71% of viewers report waiting an average of 5 or more seconds for their videos to load on mobile, according to the latest research from Penthera’s 3rd annual U.S. Streaming Behavior Survey.

The study examines changing attitudes and behaviors towards mobile video streaming and downloading technology across consumer populations in the U.S., and for 2020 Penthera asked respondents to describe their habits before any COVID-19 disruptions. The study finds that while 66% stream mobile video weekly or more often, 88% experience frustrations when trying to watch.

Among the most common frustrations that viewers encounter are slow start times, in-stream rebuffering, poor ad experiences, among others. As tolerance of these issues diminishes, it’s crucial for providers of streaming video to prioritize their mobile stratege and solve these issues. “Viewers in 2020 are watching more mobile video than ever, but the experience of watching in an app still causes a lot of frustration,” said Penthera CMO Jodi Susman. “That’s why as we see high rates of delays and buffering on mobile, we’re also seeing that more consumers are downloading videos to their phones and tablets than ever before, even when they’re watching at home.”

“There’s been a huge jump from 2018 and 2019, when 40% and 54% of viewers downloaded, to now in 2020 when we’re seeing 67% download. That’s a 68% increase in just 3 years,” she explained. “Plus, two-thirds of viewers now expect streaming services to offer a mobile video download feature, and 50% are more likely to subscribe to services that do. As the competition heats up across the industry, these are insights that OTT providers can’t afford to ignore.”

Some of the most interesting insights from the report:
Mobile viewership is increasing, as U.S. viewers watch daily and weekly, yet frustrations remain as connectivity issues cause significant delays: 66% of respondents stream video on a mobile device weekly.

88% reported that they have experienced streaming frustrations including being annoyed with advertisements, videos taking too long to start, and video rebuffering. 71% have to wait 5 seconds or longer for mobile videos to load on average, including 39% who wait 7 seconds or more.

Viewers are downloading mobile video more than ever, and they’re watching downloaded content not just when traveling—but at home, too:
67% of U.S. respondents said that they download mobile video, a 68% increase since 2018 (when only 40% said they download). 59% of respondents said that they expect a streaming service to include a mobile video download feature and would even pay a premium for the feature.

43% of respondents said they watch downloaded videos when they are on a trip, while 35% do so at home. Viewers in the U.S. are enthusiastic about downloading content from their apps and getting free video downloads with ads. 50% of panelists said they would be more likely to subscribe to an app that offers download functionality. ⅓ of respondents said they would be more likely to use an app that offers them the ability to download videos for free, with ads.

With viewers experiencing high rates of mobile video issues and two-thirds expecting streaming services to offer downloading, there’s a clear imperative for video providers to optimize their mobile offering with features that facilitate a more seamless experience, whether their service is subscription-based (SVOD) or ad-based (AVOD).

“People are watching more videos on their phones—at home, at work, while traveling,” said Susman. “As so many new services launch in 2020, providers need to accept the reality that mobile video is a significant part of viewers’ habits. Solving the frustrations that plague mobile viewers is critical for reducing churn, increasing engagement and monetization, and gaining a competitive edge for the streaming wars.”

About Penthera:
Penthera is a global software company that develops and deploys products that remove friction and improve the mobile video experience. With tools that include video download, content subscriptions, and buffer reducing streaming technology, Penthera helps OTT providers compete in a crowded marketplace and improve key business metrics such as viewer engagement, increased revenue, and churn-reduction. Penthera works with leading media and entertainment brands around the world: CBS, Fox, HBO, Liberty, AMC, Globo, Showtime and many other streaming providers. Led by Michael Willner, Chairman and CEO, and Dan Taitz, President and COO, Penthera is transforming how the world accesses mobile video.

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