New research from Bitmovin reveals that almost half (47%) of consumers have unsubscribed from a streaming service due to buffering issues.

Denver – United States, November 22nd, 2022– Bitmovin, an industry-leading streaming infrastructure provider, has found that poor video quality and buffering issues could cost video streamers as much as $390 million per month. Almost half of Americans (47%) claim to have unsubscribed from a streaming service due to buffering issues. 

With the ongoing recession in the US and the ongoing streaming battle for subscribers, the research findings demonstrate to video streamers that poor video quality and buffering are potentially deal-breaking issues for consumers. The research also found that over a quarter of Americans (27%) would drop a streaming service with poor video quality.

It takes at least 13.5 seconds of buffering on average before consumers consider unsubscribing from any video entertainment provider. However, not all content is created equal when it comes to buffering: respondents are more tolerant of buffering when it comes to Religious content, only considering unsubscribing after 15.5 seconds of buffering. eSports and eLearning platforms came second with 15.4 seconds, and consumers considered unsubscribing from paid-for streaming services after 14 seconds. 

Male respondents were also found to be more impatient than female respondents. For paid streaming services, male respondents would only tolerate 13 seconds of buffering before considering unsubscribing, whereas females would tolerate 14.9 seconds.

With Netflix now offering an ad-supported, lower-cost subscription model, and many others expected to follow suit, the research had some additional insights into consumer sentiment around ad-supported video streaming subscriptions. Interestingly, when it comes to a paid subscription model, the majority (68%, rising to 78% in those aged 18-35) are happy to pay that little bit extra for an ad-free experience. 

Most viewers (58%) are happy to tolerate ads when it comes to free streaming services. However, it seems if paying for a subscription, no matter the cost, they would like ad-free content.

Stefan Lederer, CEO, and Founder at Bitmovin commented, “We are in an era of technology-driven experiences, and so, within this tech-savvy generation, streamers need to go above and beyond just offering entertaining content. The consumer, especially when paying for these services, also wants a seamless and enjoyable experience. Streamers need to realize that it’s not just great content that will help them win out but also top-notch delivery of its content”.

The research also found that almost one in four (25%) Americans valued the ability to use a streaming service across all devices as one of the top three reasons to keep a subscription. Interestingly, mobile phones are the second most popular choice for viewing streamed content (49%), behind Connected TVs (67%) – and much higher than tablets (23%) and laptops (25%).