Penthera, provider of video streaming solutions for OTT providers, recently announced the release of PlayAssure, a software product that builds a more extensive real-time buffer of video on streaming devices during playback. This improves video quality and reduces or eliminates rebuffering due to unreliable networks, delivering a more robust quality of experience for consumers, and higher engagement for publishers and operators. PlayAssure builds on Penthera’s expertise in real-time download technology, and the software is deployed within publisher’s apps with existing infrastructure (video player, DRM, CDN). With PlayAssure, mobile video users no longer have to deal with rebuffering, and connected TV (CTV) viewers can be assured the highest quality HD or 4K video.
PlayAssure is designed to reduce churn and increase ad revenue by ensuring that more customers watch a publisher’s stream. The underlying PlayAssure technology is optimised to reduce the impact of unreliable networks on customer experience by leveraging network variations to use periods of time where there is excess bandwidth to cache video beyond what can be sorted in the player buffer. Video quality can also be optimised by using the excess bandwidth available to request and cache the highest possible quality segments. PlayAssure works automatically once a customer presses play on a video asset, and video quality of sessions are not affected by PlayAssure, as it only downloads the video cache when there is bandwidth in excess of what is required for the video stream requested.
Penthera currently has PlayAssure working on mobile devices, tablets, Android/Google TV, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. The company’s’ expertise in the digital download space has been well-recognised by leading publishers, from Liberty Global to Paramount Global, as well as the likes of Virgin, OSN, Sky Go, Viki Rakuten, and many other major OTT services. Penthera’s 2021 U.S. video streaming report found that most streaming viewers in the U.S. stated the top factors when deciding which OTTs to use are ‘ease of use’ and ‘videos not rebuffering’. These factors were cited by viewers as more important than “having shows and movies I like.” Further, the study found that 4 percent of viewers will cancel a subscription due to re-buffering alone. A recent study from Parks and Associates cited that the average churn rate in 2020 was 40 percent, but now averages 45 percent, noting customer displeasure with re-buffering.
“PlayAssure was born out of an insight that we shared while viewing usage data during the pandemic, where most streaming was through Wi-Fi usage. We wanted to figure out how to automate the process of improving the last-mile delivery of video without the constant annoyance of video re-buffering,” said Brian Kline, president of Penthera. “Video engagement means one thing for subscription services: customers watch my content and I live another day. We have found that if you re-buffer between the first and second ad pods, you may lose the customers. You can keep the session going with the right technology and this quality of experience helps drive revenue for ad-supported services.”