Today, OTT subscription services are soaring in use and popularity today. This has spawned the rise of new businesses that are catering to this consumer demand. Also, many traditional pay-TV service providers are switching or additionally exploring OTT channels to tap into this new and attractive revenue streams. However, to be successful as an OTT service, it is imperative to deliver an exceptional Quality of Experience; otherwise, users can quickly end up disappointed, leading to churn and business loss.
Today, operators are finding it increasingly challenging to deliver a high-quality experience to their consumers. In a survey by Accenture, they found that 40% of consumers are concerned about their online video streaming quality of experience. The high-quality experience will increase customer loyalty and decrease churn – directly impacting your business bottom line. The viewing experience is likely to determine how much likely the user is going to continue paying for the service.
So, how do OTT service providers measure and monitor their user engagement and satisfaction with their service? User experience is correlated with key metrics such as viewing hours, and—ultimately— profits. Continually deployed Quality of Service (QoS) and Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring can help OTT providers to identify if their users are facing any issues and take proactive steps to remove the bottlenecks and deliver an outstanding user experience.
Why Do We Need Metrics?
Typically, a video stream will originate from the content provider’s origin server or CDN & it will travel across the operator network to the consumer. Network congestion will affect the quality of the stream. If there are any weak links in this chain from the origin to the end consumer, then it will impact the quality of streaming available to the consumer. By continuous monitoring & measurement, service providers can keep a finger on the pulse of their service. As the saying goes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” In the absence of an analytic framework to understand and report on existing bottlenecks, it would be difficult to formulate the right strategy. Below we will take a look at the standard metrics associated with OTT QoE
What Metrics Are Available To Track OTT QoE?
Start Time & Speed of Startup— The time that it takes for the video stream to start playing and the speed that it takes to start so that the consumer can watch it.
Error Rate— The rate at which playback failures occur during video streaming.
Rebuffer Time & The Likelihood of Buffer— The number of rebuffering incidents and the amount of time that goes into video rebuffering.
Average Video Bitrate— The rate at which the consumer is viewing and the bitrate shifts that may arise. If OTT providers work on lower bitrate profiles, it can decrease the video quality but it will decrease the likelihood and the time of rebuffering. The workaround will be to allocate a higher bitrate to the complex segments of media files and a lower bitrate to the simpler ones.
Resolution of the video stream itself – Video resolution refers to the number of pixels that can be displayed in a standard device dimension. Many video streams are provided nowadays at higher video resolution. But a higher resolution also means bigger file size which can create issues such as higher rebuffering rate. Video compression techniques such as HVEC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) can compress video file sizes without impacting the resolution.
Different vendors are offering multiple analytics applications, including, but not limited to, QoE dashboard with drill-down filters, ad reporting, ad optimization, and encoding system configuration optimization.
Measurement and analysis of QoE metrics allows businesses to identify ways to increase subscriber engagement as well as monetization from their services. By viewing your performance metrics and delivery network statistics at a glance, you can identify the problem at the granular level.
You can quickly learn which browsers, devices, regions, CDNs, players, ads, and videos are creating the most problems for your viewers.
What Are The Next Steps?
Merely tracking and measuring these metrics is not going to be enough. We also need to work upon the insights to improve our processes and inform better decisions to deliver an enriched video experience to our viewers. Once you have begun tracking your QoE, you need to ensure that you are utilizing the best in class technology to deliver a superior and optimal experience to your end consumers. Two techniques that are becoming extremely popular today are – Edge Caching and CDN – to provide a good quality streaming experience to the consumers.
By edge caching, the automatic device automatically detects popular video traffic and on the next request from the consumer, delivers it locally. And this way, it can provide a higher quality video. It not only improves the quality of the video stream for the end consumer but also reduces the investment in the network infrastructure that would have been required. A CDN caches your content within a network of strategically placed servers all over the world. When your consumer requests for specific information, the response will be served from the server located closest to the user, rather than having to travel to the origin server and back. This helps to reduce the request and response round trip times, helping to improve the speed & performance dramatically. More importantly, you can cost-effectively scaling the network for future demands and provide a high quality of experience.
At Medianova, we provide global CDN solutions in streaming, encoding, caching, micro caching, hybrid CDN, and website acceleration. We have delivered, and managed CDNs for leading enterprises, and our state-of-art solutions are benchmarked against industry-leading quality parameters.