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yahoo-barriers-live-online-video-viewing-sept2016Legacy TV doesn’t only need to contend with the rapid ascent of subscription video-on-demand services, it also needs to face a new challenger: live video online. Already, live video is getting a position reception from consumers and an enthusiastic outlook from advertisers. Now, new research [download page] from Yahoo delves into what it calls the “live video opportunity.”

The study – which is based on qualitative and quantitative research – finds that live video online is preferred to live TV due to the mobility it affords, the greater positive emotions it stirs, and the increased multitasking activity that it inspires. (Although to be fair, multitasking is often considered a negative for TV advertisers.)

As for advertising, it tends to fit better with the content in live online video than in on-demand content, per the report, delivering a greater halo effect across favorability, purchase likelihood and aided awareness KPIs.

So there appears to be opportunity for live video. What are its consumption drivers and challenges?

For prospective live online video viewers (those who don’t currently stream live video, but are interested in doing so), the prime motivation is the content itself, with 43% pointing to content that they were interested in watching. Other motives for watching included fewer ads in the content (28%) and invitations from friends or family members (25%), with ads and notices about the event playing less of a role.

On the other side of the equation, few prospects complained of the various barriers to consumption, with only around one-quarter or fewer citing the various options provided. The leading obstacle to watching live video appears to be a preference for watching video at one’s own convenience (27%), which of course is one of digital video’s most appealing features in the first place.

Close behind, though, is respondents’ habit to only use TV for live viewing. Indeed, although live video may be captivating audiences online, it has a ways to go to catch up with entrenched live TV viewing that averages 4 hours a day

Interestingly, a dislike for watching live video on a digital device was the least-mentioned barrier to live online video consumption. As for devices, the report notes that PCs and laptops (86%) are the most commonly used to watch live online content, followed by smartphones (56%), tablets (44%) and connected TVs (42%). Not surprisingly, Millennials over-index on each of those devices, with 70% using smartphones to view live online content.

Turning to live video frustrations, and quality is clearly the main issue. The top-cited frustration was the stream keeping on buffering or being too slow (47%). That was well ahead of other frustrations such as the screen being too small (34%) and too much advertising (31%), with other quality-related issues (crashing services, poor visual quality) slightly further behind (26% each).

In essence then, live video seems to benefit from reduced ad loads in comparison to live TV, and from viewers’ relative comfort with using different devices. Quality concerns will need to be overcome, as will legacy viewing behavior and the growing desire to watch on-demand content.

About the Data: The quantitative aspect of the research was carried out by Ipsos and took the form of an online survey of 2,002 people aged 13-64, split evenly between live online video viewers and live online video prospects.

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