In a consumer world, where devices are constantly in transit with limited connectivity, watching high quality video with no interruptions is mission critical. In the Cynopsis webinar,  “Mobile Video: How to Create a User Experience that Drives Revenue,” Penthera’s Dan Hurwitz, Chief Revenue Officer and Josh Pressnell, Chief Technology Officer, offered insights into the importance of – and the tools necessary to provide – fast, seamless and intuitive mobile video viewing.

Businesses that account for streaming frustrations through innovative tools such as download can improve key business metrics, including viewer engagement, revenue and churn, said Hurwitz, noting, “What’s most important is being able to leapfrog the competition in an extremely crowded marketplace.”

According to the Penthera US Mobile Streaming Behavior Survey, 88% of respondents reported being frustrated while streaming in 2019, versus 81% a year ago. The top reasons cited for frustration were the video rebuffered (59%), and video took too long to start (48%). And that frustration can affect the bottom line for OTT providers – including customers who simply give up (56%), stop using that service (18%), cancel their subscription (7%), or write a bad app store review (7%).   

The survey also revealed a unique opportunity: 59% of respondents said they expected a streaming service to offer a download option and 54% said they would be more likely to subscribe to a streaming service if that service offered a download option; 67% said they would be willing to pay a premium for download. “Download is not just a nice-to-have, it is a table stake,” said Hurwitz.

That said, “It’s really important that you do your homework,” offered Presnell. “There’s a lot of complex ideas that go on with even the basic concept of downloading video for offline playback.” Bottom line: It’s all about the user experience. Said Presnell. “At the end of the day, your users’ experience is what matters most.”

Reliability, security and configurability are important to consider. “As with any video service, analytics are a key way to gather insights about user behavior with regard to download,” said Presnell. “How often are they watching? How much are they watching? When and what are they watching? All of these questions and more provide valuable data for a VSP—and just because a viewer watches content offline doesn’t mean that data will be sacrificed.”

A download provider should have a system in place to track files as they download, and then whether the download is cancelled, fails, or completes, said Presnell. Keeping content secure matters, so a download provider should be integrated with tools like FairPlay for iOS or Widevine for Android. And a download solution needs to be versatile and highly configurable so that VSPs can provide custom settings within their app. Most in-market download providers offer a basic feature that allows downloads to happen, but they don’t account for any of the higher-order business logic. Ideally, a download engine will be able to account for download failures as they pertain to permissions models, so that users aren’t unnecessarily restricted from viewing content.

Bottom line: Doing download right matters – if done poorly, an effort to improve the user experience will backfire, just increasing viewer frustration.

Hurwitz and Presnell reiterated three important takeaways from their presentation:

  1. Know what to consider when looking for video download technology, to ensure the solution will grow engagement, reduce churn, and increase revenue.
  2. Some of the essential parts of building a download engine include permission models, speed, download for AVOD, and configurability.
  3. Understand some of the extended features to utilize when implementing a download solution.
  4.  

During the Q&A session, Presnell was asked about advertising – and said that could be a webinar in itself. With time running out, he added this insight after the event:

“There’s a lot of complexity that goes into supporting offline AVOD. The first thing to realize is that most advertising is only valid for a very limited window.  After about 72 hours, ads retrieved from the major ad platforms are no longer monetizable.  So any solution that provides downloaded AVOD must either accept a user experience where a user must delete the asset and re-download it every few days, or a solution must be created that refreshes the advertising embedded within the video without requiring the video to be re-downloaded.  Beyond that, there are many factors to consider surrounding campaign management and impression recording/reporting. Penthera has created patented solutions that follow the latter approach.  Contact our sales teams to learn more….”  

Dan.Hurwitz@penthera.com

Josh.Pressnell@penthera.com

Lynn Leahey