Study: Void in Measuring Impact of Optimization on Viewer Experience

The survey, which aggregated input from 300 respondents, showed wide variations in the methodologies used to understand optimization, and in how metrics are collected. While more than 35% of respondents relied on technical approaches such as PSNR (14%), SSIM (11.3%) and VMAF (10%), for example, 8.3% relied on viewer surveys and 3.3% said that they had no plans to check the impact at all.

Waterloo, ON, Canada, July 7, 2020 – The media industry lacks a clearly defined picture of how bitrate optimization impacts the viewer experience, according to a recent survey of OTT providers, broadcasters and multichannel video providers.

The survey, which aggregated input from 300 respondents, showed wide variations in the methodologies used to understand optimization, and in how metrics are collected. While more than 35% of respondents relied on technical approaches such as PSNR (14%), SSIM (11.3%) and VMAF (10%), for example, 8.3% relied on viewer surveys and 3.3% said that they had no plans to check the impact at all. The survey was conducted on behalf of SSIMWAVE, the leader in viewer-centric video quality evaluation, by streaming industry expert Dan Rayburn.

“As consumers turn to streaming as their primary source of video entertainment, quality is becoming increasingly important,” said Dr. Abdul Rehman, CEO and co-founder of SSIMWAVE. “These results underscore the need for a consistent, objective measuring standard that can help operators choose optimization strategies that balance cost efficiency with the need to maximize viewer satisfaction.”

According to the survey, the top methods used by the industry at large to measure the impact of optimization on the viewer experience are: PSNR (14%), third-party platforms (13%), providers’ internal video engineers’ methodologies (12.7%), and SSIM (11.3%). PSNR (18%) was the leading methodology used by multichannel video providers, while third-party platforms (23%) was the leading broadcast option and internal video engineers’ methodologies (27%) dominated within OTT respondents.

In addition to the impact of bitrate optimization on viewer experiences, the survey also highlighted Quality of Experience (QoE) and costs as the top two concerns streaming providers have as they begin to scale viewership. More than 35% identified “measuring our QoE success with viewers” as the top issue, while more than 21% said the main concern was “increased delivery costs.” The survey also shows that almost one-third of respondents (32.3%) do not believe that their Quality of Experience creates an advantage over competitors in the market, and that another 23% were unsure of how to measure their QoE versus that of competitors.

The full survey will be discussed on a webinar entitled OTT Insights: Best practices for optimizing bitrates, costs and viewer experiences on July 16 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Participants will include Carlos Hernandez, Chief Revenue Officer SSIMWAVE; Simon Eldridge, co-founder and Chief Product Officer, SDVI Corporation; and Dan Rayburn, Principal Analyst, Frost & Sullivan, and a noted blogger, author and consultant on streaming media tech and business models. Registration for the webinar is at https://www.ssimwave.com/events/webinar-ott-insights-optimization-dan-rayburn/.