Penthera Report: Latin Americans Love Streaming, But Frustration Is on the Rise

Among the findings in Penthera’s new Latin America Research report that should catch the attention of TV networks and advertisers: while Latin American respondents are enthusiastic about streaming (65% stream daily and 23% stream weekly), they are less patient with their US counterparts when it comes to annoying ads and streaming glitches like video taking too long to start ( 52%), and the video re-buffering (52%). But it’s not necessarily bad news – Cynopsis talked to Penthera CMO Jodi Susman about why this actually offers a big opportunity for OTT providers. (To access the study, go here.)
Why the focus on Latin America in this study?

We included Latin America as part of our series of Mobile Streaming Behavior Surveys (our Europe and India studies will be released in Q1 2020) because we recognize that the OTT industry is seeing enormous growth in the region. And a lot of this is tied to mobile video viewership. In fact, the region has the second fastest growing mobile phone population in the world, and in 2019 almost 40% of people in the region (243.9 million) are expected to watch video content on a mobile device. We wanted to understand how this explosive growth is affecting behaviors and attitudes around streaming and downloading video content.

What we found was fascinating: despite the increasing popularity of mobile video and expanding 4G coverage in the region, users’ frustration with mobile streaming has actually increased since 2018. This seems to signal that providers still have still not solved viewers’ most persistent problems and that consumer expectations are on the rise.

How do Latin American streaming habits differ from the US?

Though both regions have seen significant growth in mobile viewership since 2018, the popularity of mobile video is even higher in Latin America than it is in the US. 88% of those surveyed in LATAM said they stream video on mobile at least weekly in 2019, including 65% who said they do so daily. In the US, 69% said they stream on mobile at least weekly, including 43% who do so daily. It’s clear mobile viewing is on the rise in both regions, but it seems to already be an integral part of viewers’ daily lives in Latin America.

How does the user experience differ, as far as streaming frustrations?

Viewers in both regions have something significant in common: the majority have encountered frustrating experiences when trying to stream video on mobile. In both regions, the top frustrations cited were long start-up times, re-buffering in the middle of a video, and annoying ads. A key difference, though, is that Latin American audiences seem to be less tolerant of streaming issues.

While 43% of US viewers accept that streaming can sometimes be a frustrating activity, only 30% of those in Latin America accept frustrations—a number that has decreased since 2018. Compared to their US counterparts, LATAM viewers are also much more likely to take action when they encounter streaming issues, like stopping use of a service or canceling their subscriptions. In fact, the percentage of people who say they’d write a negative app store review in Latin America is double the percentage in the US.

How do consumers feel about ads in Latin America?

54% of respondents to our survey reported feeling frustrated by annoying ads when streaming, but viewers in Latin America don’t seem to be against ads overall. In fact, when asked how they’d feel about if they could access free video downloading in exchange for ads, more than half of respondents said they would be excited about the feature and use it regularly. Further, 57% of viewers said they’d be more likely to subscribe to a service that offers such a feature.

This seems to indicate that it’s not that users dislike ads, but that they can be annoyed by poor ad experiences. This is a huge opportunity for OTT providers. By letting users download videos with ads attached, providers can boost engagement and loyalty by ensuring videos can be watched regardless of connectivity. And better yet, they can rake in millions of dollars in additional monthly revenue by monetizing a feature that users will be excited to use.

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