Survey: Mobile Video Streaming Breeds Frustration

Streaming video on mobile devices continues to surge worldwide but the convenience of watching your favorite shows anywhere is increasingly besieged with frustration, according to a new study from Penthera, a New York-based software company that specializes in mobile streaming.

The study found that frustration among mobile viewers is “persistent and on the rise” due to delays in video startup, annoying buffering during playback, and connectivity problems. Penthera reports that these frustrations have grown from 81% to 88% over the past year as people become less tolerant of streaming issues.

Looked at another way, 43% of mobile viewers surveyed said they “accept” that streaming can be frustrating, down from 50% last year. Penthera attributes increasing user frustration to a lack of innovation on the part of mobile content providers.

“Providers must take into account that connectivity is not a given for viewers,” said Penthera’s chief strategy officer Dan Hurwitz. “So the ability to watch video when connectivity is limited or nonexistent isn’t a perk — it’s mandatory. In fact, our survey shows it’s non-negotiable, and 59% of our respondents said they expect video providers to offer a download option.”

Mounting frustration comes at a time when mobile streaming is on the rise: Nearly seven in ten (69%) of the survey’s respondents reported streaming video on their mobile devices “at least weekly” — up significantly from 52% in 2018.

Video re-buffering in the middle of playback was cited as most common frustration (59%), followed by a video taking too long to start (48%), and annoying advertisements (48%).

Among the survey’s other key findings, 59% of respondents said they expect streaming services to offer a download option, with two-thirds willing to pay a premium for that feature.

Conducted in February 2019, the survey was overseen by EMI Research Solutions with the goal of examining attitudes and behaviors of U.S. audiences toward mobile streaming and download technology; 800 people between the ages of 18 and 50 participated in the survey.

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