Last week, Wowza released the 2017 report “Create the Streaming Media Experience Users Want.” The report analyzes the livestreaming UX (user experience) for five markets–gaming, news, radio, sports, and user-generated content (UGC)–by looking at the first time to first frame (TTFF) and end-to-end latency (E2E) for market leaders in each segment. These factors, along with factors like resolution, audio clarity, and stability, had the highest impact on livestreaming UX and were most likely to contribute to user abandonment.
Although the importance of each factor varies by market and use case, Wowza found that several trends persisted across segments. Real-time streaming with low latency was most important for highly interactive applications and those with time-bound coverage, such as news and sports platforms. However, platforms with a large base of concurrent viewers required higher latency in order to maintain quality of experience.
Other important findings by market included:
- UGC apps, which depend on interactive comments as well as real-time experiences, had the lowest latency of all market segments, but TTFF for these apps was higher than other markets.
- TTFF was key for UGC apps with live event broadcasts or VOD, but low latency was crucial for apps such as user-to-user video chat
- The lowest latency UGC app was YouNow, with lower TTFF and E2E than Facebook, Instagram, and Periscope
- Gaming apps are increasingly monetizing their platforms, increasing the importance of real-time interactivity and low-latency for livestreaming UX. Of the gaming apps tested, Beam.pro was the top performer, upsetting market leaders Twitch and YouTube Gaming
- The latency of sports apps must be competitive with broadcast TV to avoid spoilers, which can occur at over 15s of latency
- Sports apps had a similar TTFF to gaming or UGC platforms, but a higher E2E latency. For events such as the Super Bowl or World Cup, high viewer numbers resulted in higher latencies to ensure viewing quality
- News apps had an average latency that was higher than gaming or UGC platforms, but a wide range of latencies, with low latency playing a particularly important role in financial news, but little relative importance for apps that focus on reliable, high-quality delivery to a broad viewer base
- Reuters and FoxNews had the lowest latency of all news apps tested
- Radio apps that allow for user surfing required low TTFF for users to quickly skip tracks or transition from station to station, although those that primarily focused on linear programming and music delivery required higher quality as compared to other metrics
- NPR and TuneIn Radio had the lowest E2E in the radio market, with iTunes and SiriusXM performing best in TTFF