Is it in 4K? Understanding Customer Streaming Expectations

Online streaming represents a paradigm shift in the entertainment industry, as much as color TVs and radio broadcasting. Customers have overwhelmingly adopted streaming, leading to explosive industry growth. For example, Verified Market Research forecasts that by 2028, online live sports broadcasts will generate revenue of over $87 billion. This figure represents an astounding growth of 380% over seven years.

But the rise of online streaming has only increased competition over market share. In live sports, for instance, sports leagues and broadcasters are leveraging breakthroughs in streaming technology to offer direct-to-operator streaming services. Many of these services use sophisticated streaming technology and standards, such as real-time transport protocol.

In this article, we explore why broadcast quality has become a deciding factor for winning over viewers. But to understand the importance of improving streaming quality, we must first discuss how a crowded marketplace has shifted customer streaming expectations.

Providers Can No Longer Get Away With Low-quality Broadcasting

With so many video and live streaming services to choose from, consumers have clearly won the streaming war. In fact, viewers have almost complete control over their entertainment mix and needn’t settle for anything that doesn’t appeal to them. Unfortunately for providers, this can lead to customers opting out of streaming services for otherwise trivial reasons. In the US, for instance, half of all video streaming service subscribers report moving away from at least one of their providers — as revealed by Deloitte.

So what causes audiences to end their subscription? A key reason is that streaming expectations have increased, meaning that video distribution systems can no longer get away with supplying subpar broadcasts and live streams.

According to TechRadar, consumer demand for high-quality broadcasts is so high that most viewers abandon poor-quality streams less than 90 seconds into viewing. YouTube users are even less forgiving. A recent multi-author study shows that 91% of YouTube users abandon a video as soon as quality becomes an issue.  

At the same time, devices with high display capabilities are increasingly widespread, pushing the limits of what customers can experience in their own homes. 4K TVs, for example, accounted for 40% of all global TV sales in 2020.

Fan excitement around live sports is also playing a key role in driving higher quality broadcasts. The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup are driving consumer adoption of 4K devices — according to Paul Gray, Omdia’s Senior Research Manager. 

Sports bodies like the Relevent Sports Group have already taken advantage of high-quality live streaming technology. When Relevent broadcast the 2021 Women’s International Champions Cup over social media and to Chinese audiences, their quality HD streams represented a huge improvement for social media viewing experiences.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics have further pushed broadcasting standards by recording the entire event in native UHD HDR, and with fully immersive audio. But the 2022 Beijing pushed innovation in other areas as well. Viewers with the right virtual reality headsets were able to enjoy over 80 hours of footage from the Olympics in 8K VR.                     

Customer expectations for higher-quality broadcasts will only grow as top players continue to provide better and better watching experiences. To stay competitive, providers should consider improving their streaming quality. Let’s explore how.

Steps to Improving Broadcast Quality

Boosting broadcast quality requires focusing on two key areas — how content is created and how it is distributed online.

To improve your content production environment, first perform an audit of the tools you use to create content. From media assets and editing software to audio-visual recording equipment, your audit should be as holistic as possible. Once you have a clear idea of your production tools, look to upgrade or replace the components that negatively impact broadcast quality. This process should include all production aspects, such as lighting and sets.

But your viewers will click away from streams that are plagued by latency and bandwidth issues, even if it is a high-caliber recording. Fortunately, these issues can be avoided by partnering with a reliable video and data transmission solutions provider.

When assessing a streaming solutions provider, pay attention to their video distribution system. Ideally, their system should make use of advanced streaming protocols that assure efficient and reliable delivery of your content. At Caton Technology, we’ve built our own set of protocols and IP transmission technologies  for stable, secure, and high-quality video distribution.

How Caton Technology Can Help

At Caton Technology, we provide next-generation video publishing and IP transmission solutions that distribute HD and UHD content to local and international audiences. We’ve worked with many organizations to improve their broadcast quality. During the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games event, Caton was selected by Momenta as the solution and service partner to deliver high-quality, low latency content to live video platforms such as Migu, Tencent Video, Kuai Shou, and many more.

Our services include:

  • High-quality video transport over IP for contribution and distribution through diverse networks — we have points of presence in 60 countries

  • The CatonNet Video Platform (CVP) — a fully managed video network service

  • Managed Service Level Agreements (SLAs) up to 99.999%

  • End-to-end security encryption


Are you looking to improve your broadcast quality and live streams with a cost-effective solution? Click the button below to talk to a member of the Caton team. We can talk about how our video transmission services and real-time transport protocol technologies can help you overcome your unique business challenges.

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