Quality of Experience

Quality of Experience is a Prerequisite – Not a Value Add

Imagine cozying into the sofa, ready to watch some of the recent Golden Globes winners you still haven’t had time for. That sense of anticipation for something great is a pleasure – knowing that you’re about to be amused or scared or just emotionally moved – there’s nothing like a great movie.

But after hitting “Play”, you find yourself observing a spinning circle, waiting for the movie instead of viewing it. Or perhaps the movie starts up fairly quickly, but you soon notice pixelation and skipping as the film struggles to keep buffering. Or worse yet, the audio plays out of sync with the characters’ lips and actions.

Suddenly, a great movie just isn’t great. And what do you do? You switch to another streaming platform whose content plays smoothly and quickly.

It’s no fun trying to enjoy a sensory experience when it toys with and assaults your senses. This example demonstrates why aspiring Tier 1 providers need superior technology to deliver a Quality of Experience that will drive viewer retention.

Firstlight Media provides Tier 1 and aspiring Tier 1 streaming services with highly-performant, highly scalable platforms that can help them cost-effectively achieve business and subscriber goals. A key part of that mission is helping our customers navigate the complexity of Quality of Experience as consumer expectations have escalated and technologies have evolved.

And failure is not an option. Quality of Experience is a Prerequisite – Not a Value Add.

Before we go on, let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing when we say “Quality of Experience.” QoE entails much more than transport layer performance, bandwidth capacity, and network performance metrics. While those are important underlying supports, they don’t tell the whole story about viewer experience.

In their recent white paper “Video Quality of Experience,” Sandvine explained the crucial difference between network performance and viewer Quality of Experience. An informative measure of viewer Quality of Experience must account for the total viewer experience, including actions the viewer takes like pausing, replaying a scene, or skipping ahead to seek a specific scene. And it must consider the reality that the “viewer” is never a single node: any subscription might include multiple viewers playing different content in the next room or might pause content to resume it on a different device, while still expecting low latency, high resolution, and perfectly synced high-quality audio.

All this while maintaining fast loading, ease of use, and natural-feeling content discovery. It’s a lot. But it’s worth it.

In the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, viewer survey responses were tabulated and published showing that Quality of Experience is rivaled only by content in driving viewer retention. Of the nine factors that at least 50% of viewers agreed were extremely or very important to them, seven were aspects of Quality of Experience.

To be clear: 78% of viewers’ top priorities are Quality of Experience measurements. In fact, Ease of Use outranked Content itself.

“User-friendly interactivity plays a key role for streaming services and ranked second in consumer importance [behind only cost]. Frustrating user experiences or hard to navigate interfaces may not bode well when it comes to subscriber retention, especially when the internet has cultivated a culture of convenience and consumers have a bevy of other media choices available to them.”

The Nielsen Company
February 2020

And why should this surprise anyone? By its essence, video is a sensory experience – that’s the whole point! How can a viewer remain loyal to a “sensory experience” characterized by buffering, pixelation, blurring, skipping, or bad audio? They can’t.

So the stakes are high: low quality of experience wholly undermines audience engagement, loyalty, and thereby … monetization.

But Firstlight Media has you covered. We are your best resource for state-of-the-art OTT streaming. And it’s not a matter of opinion – Firstlight Media is already delivering the capabilities acknowledged as important to the successful delivery of QoE, most notably:

  • Faster-Than-Real-Time Encoding
  • Live Streaming
  • Ultra-High Definition Streaming and High Frame Rates
  • Support for DRM and Advertising

Firstlight Media leads the OTT space with these capabilities already part of the industry’s most advanced OTT environment – a cloud-native, modular architecture that drives best-in-class viewer engagement and monetization via a robust video pipeline, a highly evolved content management system, flexible user experiences, and powerful data management resources. And our platforms have been proven across 50+ markets and in more than 25 fully-built and currently operating Tier 1 services.

With the most advanced infrastructure, systems, and features available to aspiring Tier 1 providers, Firstlight Media is your platform to compete, excel, and win in the streaming wars. We know that if “content is king,” then Quality of Experience is the throne, palace, and drawbridge – a prerequisite, not a value add.

Work with the best. We are ready to help you now.

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