86% of U.S. Smartphone Users Would Prefer Fast Video Starts and Smooth Streaming on Standard Definition over Higher Definition Video Quality, According to New Poll by Skyfire



Skyfire commissioned survey shows that quality of experience when consuming media is a top consideration for smartphone users; #1 reason (after price) that consumers switch mobile carriers is to get better data coverage, ahead of voice coverage or device selection. 


SAN FRANCISCO – July 13th, 2012 – Nearly seven out of eight U.S. smartphone owners would care more about smoothness and less buffering time on a standard definition video over high definition pixel quality while watching mobile video over a poor connection, according to newly-released results today from a survey conducted online in May/June 2012 by Harris Interactive and commissioned by Skyfire. This new research shows the importance of network data quality, speed of delivery, and smooth multimedia playback for smartphone users.


The survey was conducted among over 900 US and over 1,000 British smartphone owners.  Based on the survey results, mobile video is being consumed by a majority of American smartphone users, with well over half (57 percent) of American smartphone owners reporting that they've watched a video on their smartphone in the last month. This is in comparison to Great Britain, where only 29 percent of British smartphone owners have watched a video on their smartphone in the last month. Overall, however, both U.S. and British smartphone users (86 percent and 87 percent, respectively) indicate in great numbers that when their mobile connection is poor, they care more about seeing a standard definition video which plays smoothly than seeing a high definition video with slow starts, stuttering and re-buffering.


The survey includes a number of other intriguing findings related to mobile video trends among smartphone users:



o   U.S. smartphone owners age 18-34 are most likely to indicate that they have watched mobile video in the last month (76 percent), significantly so when compared to those age 35-44 (58 percent), those age 45-54 (52 percent) and those age 55+ (24 percent). The youngest generation surveyed is just as likely to watch mobile video as the oldest generation is not.


o   U.S. men are significantly more likely than women to have watched a video on their smartphone in the past month (62 percent vs. 52 percent).

o   American young males (age 18-34) are most likely to have done this, with a whopping 84 percent having watched a video on their smartphone in the last month.


o   Those from U.S. households with income under $35k are more likely (66 percent) to have watched a video on their smartphones in the past month than households with incomes $75k or more (just 54 percent). With video consumption being a major culprit behind "bill shock", this also means that those with less income are more likely to be charged overage fees.


o   Other than price (49%), the biggest reason cited by US smartphone owners who have switched mobile carriers in the past year was to seek better data coverage and download speeds (40% cited this reason). Mobile data coverage is now ahead of voice coverage (25%) and smartphone device selection (26%) as a reason to change carrier. 


"We're seeing a sea change in the way consumers are using and thinking about their mobile devices, with higher quality content becoming the norm," says Skyfire CEO Jeffrey Glueck. "This survey shows clearly that when connections are poor, users define a quality experience much more by fast video starts and smooth play, rather than HD fidelity in their video. Moreover, other than price, better data speeds now beat voice coverage and device selection as the most important factor when switching carriers. 'Can you watch me now?' is the new 'Can you hear me now?'"


The Skyfire-sponsored survey brings to light the need for a new classification of "Quality of Experience," as a function of "Quality of Session" plus "Quality of Media." For users, load times, re-buffering, connection quality, and hiccups can be much more important than the difference between HD and SD video. With mobile data traffic rising precipitously and spectrum crunches looming, mobile operators must look to a variety of solutions to maximize the effectiveness of their networks and bring consumers the experience they expect.  


Survey Methodology – United States & Great Britain


This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Skyfire both within the United States via its QuickQuery product from May 31-June 4, 2012 among 2,209 adults ages 18 and older (among whom 941 are smartphone owners) and in Great Britain via its Global Omnibus product from May 29-June 6 2012 among 2,092 adults age 16-64 (among whom 1,086 are smartphone owners). These online surveys are not based on a probability samples and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. In both countries, the data were weighted to reflect the composition of the general adult population.


For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please email kayvan@vscpr.com




Skyfire is dedicated to leveraging the power of cloud computing to improve radically the mobile Internet experience for both Operators and Consumers. Skyfire's solutions provide game-changing cost savings, better end-user experiences, and compelling incremental revenue opportunities. Skyfire was recently recognized as no. 4 on Light Reading's 2011 Startups to Watch list; was recognized by Red Herring as a top 100 private company in America; and won 1st place in the first-ever TIA Venture Network Challenge. As both a laboratory and showcase for new capabilities, Skyfire has honed its technology through a variety of consumer apps, which have more than 14 million downloads to date.


Skyfire is based in Mountain View, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. For more information, visit http://www.skyfire.com, or follow Skyfire on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/skyfire.

NOTE: Skyfire and Skyfire Rocket are trademarks of Skyfire Labs, Inc. All other registered or unregistered trademarks are the sole property of their respective owners.