Industry Blog

What iPhone users want from mobile video

Time to read: 3 minutes

It’s happening again. And this time it’s bigger. On September 9th, millions will pay homage to yet another iteration of the iPhone. This time the launch will take place at the largest venue for an Apple event ever with an anticipated 7,000 strong crowd from the press and industry.

Ahead of the jamboree, Openwave Mobility conducted a comprehensive survey of over 2,000 iPhone users in the US and the UK. We gathered a treasure trove of information on video watching habits and people’s annoyance when it comes to video buffering, because, let’s face it, no one likes buffering during their favourite cat video!

In fact buffering came out as the biggest complaint for iPhone users. The watershed moment was found to be 15 seconds as 59% of users across both geos abandon videos that have not loaded at this point. Almost a third (31%) stating that any buffering is completely unacceptable. Clearly, seamless mobile video playback is now a top priority.

The data also highlights a potential issue for Apple and the next generation of the iPhone 6 Plus, with 42% of users blaming Apple for poor mobile video quality. Interestingly, iPhone 6 Plus issues were highlighted in a recent Podcast from The Verge. In the US in particular, iPhone 6 Plus customers put almost half the blame (45%) with Apple.

However, subscribers don’t always see buffering as Apple’s fault. Operators also get blamed too. So, no time to sit back and relax. Over half (53%) of all iPhone users surveyed blamed operators for poor mobile video performance. With customer satisfaction such a key issue for operator success, clearly mobile video needs to be carefully planned for future network upgrades. Interestingly almost no one in the survey blamed the content provider, so the Over-The-Top players came out squeaky clean.

Light at the end of the tunnel

The survey was not all doom and gloom for mobile operators. 39% of respondents came out in favour of paying extra for an improved mobile video service. With the most demanding and high value customers willing to pay the most for a buffer-free experience. With such a large segment of the market happy to pay extra, carriers in the US and UK are leaving money on the table.

In terms of demographics, millennials wanted their short form videos to load the fastest. That’s to be expected, given that video services such as Snapchat, Vine and Instagram have grown at a phenomenal rate. It was the complete reverse for Baby Boomers. They were not too fussed about the short form videos. Their loyalties were firmly with long form.

Things to do in Denver (and Belfast)…

And for those of you wondering who is the hardest to please amongst iPhone customers in the US, well we can reveal that it is a man, aged over 55 who lives in Denver and is still using an iPhone 3G or 3GS. His UK counterpart also happens to be the same age and gender but lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He on the other hand is more up to date with an iPhone 6 Plus. Swanky. These profiles were flagged up as the least patient / most demanding in the survey!

All of this is just a snapshot of what was found in the independent survey we commissioned. If you would like to know more, contact Openwave Mobility.