I’m often amused by the scientific need to confirm the obvious – it can’t be real until it’s been tested, documented and peer reviewed, which I fully understand has a purpose. A recent study claims to show causality between video streaming and viewer behavior. Causality in itself is a significant term indicating that there is a proven relationship between one factor and another establishing cause and effect. Typically what science documents is that there exists a correlation between two or more factors. Correlation indicates a relationship, but not cause and effect. In this case, relying on more than 23 million video playbacks and more than 6 million unique visitors, the study released late last year documents that a video “start” delay lasting for more than two seconds causes viewers to begin to abandon the video (Sitaraman & Krishnan, 2012). Additionally, using regression, 5.8 percent of viewers abandon the video for each second beyond that in which the video fails to start. Last, those viewers that use fiber optic connections will abandon a video 38.25 percent more often than those attempting to view the same video on mobile devices, an effect to which I can personally attest to (Sitaraman & Krishnan, 2012). The psychological effect on the individual is obviously impatience with our new technologies as we seek instant gratification, but I predict that in the next 1-2 years we will see a change in how video is delivered and it will be near real time – no more than a one second delay on a fiber optic connection. Our attention as consumers is far too valuable to be lost due to a data transference speed.
Sitaraman, R. K., & Krishnan, S. S. (2012). Video Stream Quality Impacts Viewer Behavior: Inferring Causality using Quasi-Experimental Design. Boston. Retrieved Jan 10, 2013, from http://people.cs.umass.edu/~ramesh/Site/HOME_files/imc208-krishnan.pdf
I agree with you. Too often we need numbers to show we’re right rather than deducing it through a gut feeling or personal interaction. I look forward to the future of video.
I’m sure there was also a nice financial incentive to document the obvious as well! 😉
Ok, scientists are not idiots to call this paper a breahvthrough. To be frank, you didn’t even read the paper, did you? The point of the paper was to *quantify* the impact. Any idiot can say that there is an impact. But how much? Now use that famous intuition of yours and tell us what the impact of video freezes are on the user? Or just go read the paper!
Hi Bernard – Thanks for commenting. The impact of video freeze is the behavior of abandoning the attempt to watch the video (covered toward the bottom of the post). Further, if a particular site provides the same experience on other videos, it increases the likely hood that the consumer will abandon the site as well… possibly for good. Attitudinally, you are dealing with a frustrated consumer who will seek alternatives. Having read the paper, I think that if video hosts (such as YouTube) take note of the research and its findings we may see changes in delivery speed.