What Is Streaming Performance Index (SPI)?

Conviva’s Streaming Performance Index (SPI) is an industry-leading metric that offers a comprehensive assessment of the overall performance and quality of video streaming services. SPI considers multiple factors that impact user experience, including video start times, buffering rates, and stream quality, to gauge how well a platform delivers content to its audience.

A higher SPI signals superior performance, where users experience smooth playback, minimal delays, and top-notch streaming quality. By closely monitoring SPI, platforms can identify potential issues, optimize their infrastructure, and deliver a better overall viewer experience. Conviva’s SPI tool takes real-time metrics, processes them against variables in the technical environment—such as screen resolution—and returns the SPI as a single, holistic representation of quality of experience (QoE) for the entire population. The concept is akin to sports statistics, such as a quarterback rating, where a single number is used to give an overall indicator of performance based on multiple underlying statistics.

Because it is built on granular data, SPI enables platforms to drill down into specific audience subsegments, such as device type or service tier, with pinpoint accuracy. In an era when users expect seamless, high-quality streaming, SPI is an indispensable tool for maintaining a competitive edge.

Key Metrics of SPI

By monitoring multiple key metrics, SPI provides valuable insights into different aspects of the digital streaming experience. It redefines how Quality of Experience (QoE) is assessed and addressed, making it possible to monitor the trajectory of crucial metrics over time and to easily identify streams failing to meet predefined KPI thresholds. This enables streaming platforms to make data-driven decisions about how to enhance the overall streaming experience for their users. Monitoring everything that impacts QoE boosts user engagement and keeps them coming back. These factors all contribute to enhancing the overall quality of digital services:

Video Quality Assessment:

SPI evaluates video quality by analyzing various factors such as resolution, bitrate, compression artifacts, and overall visual fidelity. This comprehensive assessment ensures that viewers experience high-quality video streams. By meticulously monitoring these parameters, streaming platforms can enhance user engagement and satisfaction.

Buffering Analysis:

Buffering events can significantly impact the user experience by causing delays and interruptions in video playback. SPI assesses the frequency and duration of buffering events, as well as the effectiveness of buffering optimization techniques that streaming services use. By identifying and addressing buffering issues promptly, platforms can minimize disruptions and ensure users experience seamless streaming. This proactive approach improves viewer satisfaction and contributes to higher retention rates.

Latency Monitoring:

Latency, which refers to the delay between the transmission of video data and it being displayed on a viewer’s screen, is a critical aspect of streaming performance. And seamless synchronization between audio and video streams is essential to maintaining viewer engagement. SPI conducts latency monitoring across various stages of content delivery, including ingest, transcoding, and playback. By evaluating latency metrics in real time, platforms can find ways to improve their systems and ensure smoother, more responsive streaming experiences for their users. Low latency is particularly crucial for real-time interactions and live events.

Playback Stability Evaluation:

SPI looks at the stability and consistency of video playback throughout the entire streaming session, identifying anomalies such as freezes, stutters, and audio/video desynchronization. By detecting and addressing playback issues promptly, streaming providers can optimize their infrastructure and enhance their reliability. This maintains user satisfaction and loyalty by ensuring a viewing experience free from disruptions.

User Experience Metrics:

In addition to technical performance metrics, SPI incorporates user-centric metrics to evaluate the overall viewing experience. These metrics include factors such as sign-up and login times, content discoverability, and overall ease of navigation within the streaming platform. By prioritizing user experience metrics, streaming providers can create a more engaging and satisfying experience for their audience.


Benefits of SPI

SPI makes speculation about the variables of a streaming service unnecessary. The data eliminates the need for conjecture or guesswork, instead allowing streaming providers to rely on factual insights to guide their decisions. This leads to more effective allocation of resources and targeted improvements across the platform.

SPI takes into account factors that impact the user experience, which can vary depending on a user’s device, operating experience, type of stream, network conditions, and more. By aggregating and analyzing data from diverse sources, SPI provides a comprehensive perspective on the overall streaming experience. This holistic view allows streaming providers to tailor their services to meet the specific needs and preferences of their audience. Considering every aspect of the user experience leads to higher levels of satisfaction and engagement and a better QoE. 

Some of the factors SPI covers include:

Performance Optimization:

Streaming providers can use Conviva’s SPI to pinpoint performance bottlenecks and optimize their infrastructure for better video delivery. This includes optimizing content delivery networks (CDNs), adjusting transcoding settings, and improving adaptive bitrate algorithms to enhance streaming performance. A better streaming performance is smoother and more reliable for viewers.

Quality Assurance:

As a quality assurance tool, SPI enables streaming services to uphold high standards of video quality and reliability. By continuously monitoring SPI metrics, providers can proactively identify and address issues. Resolving issues promptly ensures consistent delivery of premium content to viewers. This proactive approach boosts viewer satisfaction and loyalty.

Competitive Benchmarking:

SPI gives streaming providers insights they can use to benchmark their performance against industry standards and competitors. This comparative analysis helps identify strengths and weaknesses relative to peers, informing strategic decisions and investment priorities. By leveraging the knowledge SPI provides, streaming services can stay ahead of the curve and differentiate themselves.

Subscriber Satisfaction:

Tracking SPI allows streaming providers to monitor and measure viewing experiences in enough detail to spot problems when they happen and learn what went wrong. Determining the root causes behind issues, and resolving them, helps providers improve streaming performance. Better performance leads to better subscriber satisfaction and loyalty. Positive viewing experiences drive engagement, reduce churn, and contribute to long-term revenue growth, making subscriber satisfaction a crucial aspect of business success.

Data-Driven Insights:

SPI generates actionable insights through advanced analytics and end-to-end, real-time monitoring of streaming performance and user experiences. Gaining these insights enables providers to make data-driven decisions and optimize their content delivery strategies. SPI translates essential metrics into a seamless video streaming experience that is enjoyable to watch, ensuring viewers receive the highest quality of service possible. Conviva’s SPI is determined by the portion of streams that do not experience video playback start-up errors or rebuffering as a result of connection issues, and that do maintain high picture quality. The level of quality is determined by bitrate thresholds based on screen types, a lack of early exits before video playback begins, and acceptable duration for video start-up. 


Enhancing SPI Monitoring with Experience-Centric Operations

Conviva uses Experience-Centric Operations (ECO) to monitor each detail making up its Streaming Performance Index (SPI). Conviva’s ECO tracks various experience and performance metrics in real time, providing valuable insights into the user’s journey. Conviva’s SPI tool features a range of analytics capabilities that capture the viewer’s perspective and produce immediate, essential metrics. By combining ECO with SPI, Conviva offers a comprehensive solution that addresses both technical metrics and viewer satisfaction. This approach ensures companies have the data and insights they need to achieve continuous improvement and deliver the best possible experience.

Conviva’s SPI uses experience-centric observability to assess an extensive range of factors that affect QoE—and it can compute this data 10 times faster than any existing technology at a fraction of the cost. This speed and accuracy allow organizations to make informed decisions swiftly and address issues proactively.

With the powerful insights provided by experience-centric observability, teams can see the big picture and dive deeper into specific contributing metrics. Rather than just identifying the root cause of an issue, they can observe and monitor how each of their interventions directly influence SPI. And with an extremely lightweight client-side SDK, Conviva’s SPI tool seamlessly integrates into workflows and transforms data into action.


Unlock Comprehensive Understanding of SPI with Conviva

SPI provides a holistic view of streaming performance, empowering digital businesses to enhance the quality of their services. By analyzing a wide range of live factors in real time, SPI helps organizations understand not just what is happening, but why, empowering them to make more informed decisions.

By leveraging Conviva’s SPI and experience-centric observability, organizations can gain deep insights into their digital operations and drive more user engagement. Delivering superior user experiences guarantees a loyal and growing audience and improved business outcomes over time.

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