A new UK study by streaming infrastructure provider Bitmovin has found that poor video quality and buffering issues could cost video streamers as much as £45 million per month. More than one in three people in the UK (38%) claim to have unsubscribed from a streaming service due to buffering issues.

The research also found that nearly a quarter of those surveyed (23%) would drop a streaming service with poor video quality.


Bitmovin found 38% of people in the UK have unsubscribed from a streaming service due to buffering issues

It takes at least 13.4 seconds of buffering on average before consumers consider unsubscribing from any video entertainment provider. However, respondents are more tolerant of buffering when it comes to eLearning content, only considering unsubscribing after 15.5 seconds of buffering. Fitness and free streaming platforms like YouTube came second with 14.3 seconds, and consumers considered unsubscribing from paid-for streaming services after 13.3 seconds.

When it comes to a paid subscription model, the majority (58%, rising to 67% in those aged 18-35) are happy to pay that little bit extra for an ad-free experience. Most viewers (60%) are happy to tolerate ads when it comes to free streaming services.

Stefan Lederer, CEO and founder at Bitmovin, said: “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 realise 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 (19%) of those surveyed valued the ability to use a streaming service across all devices as one of the top three reasons to keep a subscription. Mobile phones are the second most popular choice for viewing streamed content (26%), behind connected TVs (48%) and ahead of tablets (10%) and laptops (8%).

The research was conducted by an external research agency to distribute the survey, collect data and provide results from 1,000 respondents across the UK.