Feature Article

August 07, 2013

Mobile Video is Great, But Not So Much While Mobile

Mobile video streaming has proven both a welcome delight for users and something of a headache for network providers who have to deal with the issues inherent in providing the sheer amount of bandwidth required to make such a feat happen. But a new study shows that while mobile users are enjoying mobile video, said users aren't necessarily enjoying that video so much on the road.

The study, titled the ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index, surveyed 5,500 people back in June, and took a closer look at how people use mobile devices, in terms of where, when, and just how satisfied said users were with the outcomes—hence the title “satisfaction index”—of those uses. The bad news is that the Mobile Satisfaction Index didn't have a lot of clear points to it, as on the Index's 100-point scale, most every use listed derived a score of somewhere between a 75 and an 80, proving that mobile users are, as a whole, at least reasonably satisfied with most every part of a mobile device.

That's a bit distressing, especially where the scale of apps is concerned. The top ranked app for mobile video was iTunes, boasting a score of 80, while the lowest ranked app, Hulu Plus, pulled in a score of 75. This actually ties Hulu Plus for the lowest score with Sony's Crackle app, which also garnered a 75. The rest of the scale featured HBO Go and Netflix tied at 79, and Amazon Instant Video rounding out the top ranks at 78, which was also considered the average score for the scale.

But what the Index did show was just where mobile users were tuning in to mobile video. While users were generally satisfied where ever video was used, some places saw more use than others, and some unlikely places found a way into the rankings. For instance, 12 percent of respondents said they used mobile devices in the bathroom, and were also the most satisfied at an 80 score. The bedroom accounted for 43 percent and a 79 score, tied with the office (or at work) with 22 percent and a 79 score. The living room was easily the most popular, at 61 percent, and a satisfaction score of 78. Rounding out the top five was the somewhat nebulous “out and about” at 32 percent and a 78 score.

Perhaps the biggest point this shows, however, is that a lot of people like the mobile form factor, but prefer the home-based Wi-Fi connection rather than the high-speed mobile connection. Indeed, just eight percent of those surveyed said the apps were only used on the go, while 32 percent used the apps both at home and on the go. As it turns out—though many likely saw this coming—it's performance that really counts in the end, and if the video a user wants to see is stuck buffering endlessly, or there are a pile of ads to sit through before it can be reached, then what good is it? On that home connection, though, the performance is much greater, and much smoother, allowing for significantly easier connections and improved streaming. Though the number of living room connections is odd; are people eschewing big televisions for video? Or simply watching video at opportune times, like during a commercial?

The Index raises a few interesting questions, and answers several on its own. That makes this a very successful piece of research, and ultimately shows us the sheer value in mobile devices and a proper connection to back said devices up.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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