60% of iPhone users wait no more than 15 seconds for a video to load

Will the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, which are almost certain to be unveiled at the Sept. 9 media event, be faster at video loading? Independent research commissioned by Openwave Mobility has found that poor mobile video streaming is an even bigger headache than a dropped call for iPhone users. 

Over 2,000 iPhone users in the US and UK were interviewed ahead of the new iPhone launch to study people's mobile video habits. With mobile video growing at a phenomenal rate, iPhone users' tolerance to video-buffering is rapidly disappearing. Over half (59%) of subscribers in both countries will abandon streaming a mobile video if they have to wait longer than 15 seconds. The British and American survey which was conducted by research agency Censuswide, found that nearly a fifth (19%) will abandon a video after only a five second wait.

With another large screen iPhone in the offing, subscribers are coming to expect seamless quality in the delivery of content and in particular video. In both countries almost one-third of subscribers (31%) expressed a strong view that video buffering is simply unacceptable. (In broadcasting, over-the-top content refers to delivery of audio, video, and other media over the Internet without the involvement of a multiple-system operator in the control or distribution of the content.)

The growing importance of Snapchat, Vine and Instagram to a younger audience was also confirmed in the survey with millennials predictably unwilling to wait for short-form video content to load. For their parents, the Baby Boomer generation, it was the reverse. Long form video was more important to them as they catch up on the previous night's television or an episode of their favorite series on their iPhone, and this, older generation also exercised more patience.

A similar figure in both the US and UK, 39%, said they would pay extra dollars if the operator could only provide some assurance on the quality of video delivery. Most telling of all, according to Openwave Mobility, when it came to the blame game the study found that one in two customers blame the carrier for poor mobile video service and one in three blame Apple. Notably almost nobody blames the content providers or the over-the-top (OTT) players.

"With 39% of US and UK iPhone customers happy to pay more for a better mobile video experience, operators are leaving money on the table," says John Giere, president and CEO of Openwave Mobility, which "empowers" mobile operators to manage and monetize video traffic. "Put simply, the operators working in conjunction with the industry need to improve the mobile video experience, or they will watch customers churn to competitors."