I am not terribly surprised by the results. We might intuitively expect video failing to stream smoothly or quickly would lead to viewers giving up on watching the video. But the authors importantly establish a causal link and offer some nuanced findings that I think are informative. My high-level takeaway is that as internet speeds increase, consumers become more impatient and expect better quality from video providers. Here are some selected highlights from the paper:
- If a video fails to start up within two seconds, viewers start to abandon the video, and the drop off is steep. However, abandonment varies by internet speed. Viewers with faster internet connections have less patience and abandon sooner. Mobile connections give a lot more slack.
- Longer videos get more slack to startup (lesser abandonment rate from delays in starting up) than shorter clips.
- Viewers who dealt with rebuffering interruptions and delays viewed the videos for less time.
- Viewers who have difficulties are less likely to return to the site, and this is persistent for at least a week.
Knowing this is important because abandonment rate, how long videos are viewed, and return viewers are all factors for generating revenue.