The Most Important Metrics for Video Streaming

July 6, 2021

With the arrival of Covid-19, our work, schooling, and entertainment have all started to take place at home. It’s for this reason that screen time has increased dramatically. According to Nielsen, video streams, as in total time spent online, rose from 19% in the fourth quarter of 2019 to 25% in the second quarter of 2020. Never has there been more pressure to deliver high-quality streaming experiences.

Keeping end-users engaged is the key to successful streaming, especially as the video streaming market has exploded worldwide. Video streaming services such as Hulu, Disney+, Peacock, Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, and YouTube TV offer an excellent variety of programming and choice. 

Yet with this increasing demand, regular high performance and quality become a topic of concern. Understanding your video delivery performance requires a set of performance metrics for measuring streaming quality. That’s where Conviva can help.

Streaming Metrics

Video streams use a variety of tools to measure quality. Two standard sets of streaming metrics are Quality of Experience (QoE) and Quality of Service (QoS). While these are valuable measurements, they have some blind spots as it pertains to the video experience.

QoE determines the viewer experience and perception of the service quality measured at the client device. Conviva has a rich body of Quality of Experience (QoE) and audience metrics that empower accurate, timely, and actionable intelligence to maximize viewer engagement and satisfaction. 

In comparison, our Quality of Service (QoS) provides server-side data to help pinpoint the area that needs improvement or lacks performance across the infrastructure, such as content delivery networks (CDN). QoS is often categorized as providing operational metrics. That is, transactional information used for real-time operational decisions. 

Despite the detailed QoE and QoS analytics that we at Conviva evaluate for our clients, five QoE factors can provide the most precise video quality and performance picture.

Top Five Most Important Metrics To Measure Video Streaming

Conviva has identified five video streaming metrics that many viewers don’t realize impact the stream performance for consumers. All of the following five fall under the Quality of Experience title of metrics.

1. Bit rate & Play rate

Bit rate explains the quality of the video a consumer is experiencing. It’s one of the most important metrics to measure the performance of video streaming. If a video has a higher-than-average bit rate, this means a high resolution or quality image. The bit rate explains how many numbers of bits a video can be transmitted over a certain period. 

A higher bit rate also directly impacts the play rate of an online video. The higher the bit rate, the higher the play rate. Videos that are popular to a larger audience will, of course, have a higher play rate when compared to others.

2. Buffer Fill

Buffer fill is known as the time spent filling in the buffer when the video first starts.  It is an important metric because you want to know how long a user must wait before the online video begins to play. Statistics indicate, if a user stares at the buffer rotating icon for a moment longer than they want, they will abandon watching the video and move on to something else. 

3. Lag length

The video will start playing once the buffer is filled. At that point, if all goes smoothly, which means the download rate is able to keep pace with the bit rate, the viewer will see their content in one smooth playback. Yet this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, the buffer is drained, and the video will halt because there isn’t enough video to continue. All that time spent waiting is jointly called lag length. It’s an important performance metric for understanding the viewer’s experience.  In a perfect scenario, the leg length isn’t any more significant than the initial buffer fill. If it is, you know that your viewer’s experience has been rudely interrupted on multiple occasions. 

4. Lag Ratio

Waiting time over watching time is the equation that will provide you with your lag ratio. Since there is always an initial buffer period, the answer will never be zero. However, you can get it to be relatively low. 

5. Play Length

The actual seconds, minutes, and hours streamed out of your data center or play length is a critical metric. It allows you to understand the capacity and plan for infrastructure. It also helps content delivery networks plan and estimate peak data volumes and the overall demand for streamed data. 

Conviva And Video Streaming Metrics

These five metrics help improve the quality of the video experience. Consumers are looking for the kind of content delivery network which provides consistent, high quality, and easy to access video streaming with minimal buffering. Let Conviva help ensure that you can provide that type of video stream to your customer base with our metrics and research. 

Conviva’s analytics tools have brought streaming platforms to the next level. Our metrics offer priceless insights to our users, and this is merely a glimpse at what they can provide. If you’re interested in learning more about Conviva’s analytics tools, contact us today, and we can answer any questions you may have.