Research from IBM Cloud Video has found that after the initial rush to launch subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services, video businesses are now challenged to solve numerous pain points in order to meet viewers’ high expectations while differentiating offerings and achieving long-term success.
The survey discovered how streaming services can maintain a competitive edge within a crowded landscape, noting that despite the popularity of streaming services — as used by two-thirds of consumers, according to the results — consumers are not satisfied with their viewing experience.
Among the key findings is the revelation that consumers are still frustrated by technical difficulties, and it’s only getting worse. The findings revealed that just more than four-fifths of streaming video consumers experience buffering or delayed start – up six percentage points from 75% of respondents in 2016.
Worryingly, IBM noted that the technical pain points among US consumers were part of a universal experience of frustration. These pain points pose a significant risk to streaming services, as viewers make purchasing decisions based on the quality of their experience. Globally, 50% of consumers say they select video from OTT internet providers because of convenience and ease-of-use, while 44% cited the ability to watch whenever and wherever they wanted.
Moreover, despite streaming services’ robust content offerings, consumers are not satisfied with the amount of available programming. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of consumers cited more content as the top change they would make to their streaming service.
Even though an increasing number of operators and technology suppliers have refined their personalisation and recommendation tools, the survey cautioned that content recommendations weren’t meeting consumers’ needs for a personalised viewing experience. Only a tenth of consumers watch either most or all of the shows and films recommended to them by a streaming service, and 44% of consumers say recommendations are rarely or never what they want to watch.
IBM also observed that streaming services with ad-supported models needed to rework their strategies: almost three-fifths of consumers said that video advertising takes away from their viewing experience.
In a call to action in its report, IBM Cloud VIdeo cited multiple areas for improvement for providers so that they could satisfy customers’ needs. It noted that within today’s saturated market, streaming services are challenged to retain subscribers, ensure seamless delivery, optimise the viewer experience across devices, acquire and create popular content, and monetise offerings. It stated that it was essential for streaming services to not only alleviate these current pain points, but also anticipate the next wave of innovation and get ahead of the trend to keep pace with their competitors.