20 / May / 2020

Does latency speed down your growth?

Let’s imagine you watch a football game through a streaming video service. Meanwhile, your neighbor watches the same match on a regular TV, celebrates goals loudly and resents the appointment of a penalty, which you will see after only 30 seconds. Or maybe you are waiting with interest for the announcement of the winner in the live broadcast of the contest, and here viewers on social networks reveal the intrigue 15 seconds earlier.

Does latency speed down your growth?

Is that a real problem? Definitely

OTT TV services met or surpassed the experience of traditional TV services in areas such as device availability, navigation and content lineups. But they remain behind in the time delays between the source feed of a live TV broadcast and the moment when a streaming video user sees that broadcast finally appear on-screen.

This was not viewed as a major problem in the OTT-TV market when there were not many consumers using those services and most streaming offerings were restricted to shows and movies being watched on-demand. But it is becoming a more prominent issue now that the OTT delivery of live TV services has become increasingly commonplace. US MVPD sector is said to grow to more than 30 million by the end of 2023.

A study from ABI forecasts that by 2024 there will be 91 million subscribers that utilize live video streaming. Also, it states that typical latency for HTTP streaming is 30 seconds, while broadcast latency is about 5 seconds. Especially in sports, that time difference can have a major impact.

Latency is an increasing problem for broadcasters, especially when it comes to live sports. When the BBC warned of a possible 20 seconds delay on the live streams of its World Cup matches, it made plenty of headlines beyond simply the trade press. And there has been significant criticism of sports properties such as Thursday Night Football in the US that have moved to social media platforms, with delays of up to 90 seconds reported.

What are the factors influencing latency?

The video latency is determined by a number of factors acting on the image path from the camera lens to the viewer monitor screen.

  • Video encoding duration
  • Data loading and packaging operations
  • Network distribution and transport protocols
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  • Segment length
  • Player settings

Latency affects negatively business performance  

An unsatisfactory user experience can have multiple negative effects such as user churn, shifting towards competitors, lack of engagement and negative reviews questioning service provider image and credibility. A recent statistical study shows that about 88% of the smartphone users have negative user experience and almost 83% of the viewers have long lasting troubles in video buffering.

Loss of TV service productivity compromises reputation and leads viewers to mushrooming competitors and all you will see is metrics saying, “user churn growth” and by that profit will reduce. And this is due to several seconds.

Anyway lowering latency is possible. And if you feel delivery time goes back on you, SPB TV is here to bounce off your service engine.