Mobile users prefer to ‘watch’ video with their ears, new study says

Date: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 19:35 Source: DTS press department

‘Sound Matters’ study shows audio has biggest influence on video enjoyment on tablets: neuro-research shows consumers enjoy Headphone:X audio more
Mobile users prefer to ‘watch’ video with their ears, new study says

By measuring the brain activity and impulses of viewers watching mobile video, researchers at New York-based neuro-marketing firm Neuro-Insight were able to show that audio delivered in Headphone:X generated a much bigger pleasure reaction than video

Above, user watching video at the Mobile World Congress 2014

PHOTO / telecomkh.com

A neurological research study released at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has scientifically proven that mobile users prefer to “watch” video with their ears.  
By measuring the brain activity and impulses of viewers watching mobile video, researchers at New York-based neuro-marketing firm Neuro-Insight were able to show that audio delivered in Headphone:X generated a much bigger pleasure reaction than video. 
“Headphone:X audio was the clear winner in this study,” said Pranav Yadav, CEO of Neuro-Insight.  “When we switched to enhanced audio, the patterns of brain activity seen were similar to those seen when we eat something we find enjoyable, hear a funny joke or, for that matter, anticipating the ‘high’ associated with an addictive drug.  Increasing the video quality did not achieve the same results or reactions.”
“The results we saw were groundbreaking,” said Pranav. “Audio is a key component of an audio-visual experience -- mobile users simply liked the content a lot more with Headphone:X audio even when the video quality was not as high, as compared to seeing the same visual stimulus with higher quality video but ordinary audio.”
Geir Skaaden, senior vice-president for audio technology firm DTS, Inc., which commissioned the research, said that the “Sound Matters” study contains a major lesson for the mobile operator and online video communities that could impact the way they manage and maximize precious bandwidth.  
“Audio enhanced by Headphone:X really takes up very little bandwidth and can be delivered at a much lower cost than higher quality video,” Skaaden said. “Operators who re-balance their use of bandwidth to offer enhanced audio will not only save money, but they will also deliver an immediate improvement in the customer experience.”
“The study shows conclusively that streaming an audio track enhanced with Headphone:X alongside a standard definition video delivers increased enjoyment over even the highest quality, and bandwidth hungry, video,” he added.
“The lesson is simple,” said Skaaden, “in streaming video, the audio track is the key component for user enjoyment and engagement.”

About the study:
The “Sound Matters” study was carried out by Neuro-Insight in its test laboratories in New York.  It involved more than 100 men and women aged 18-35.  All of the testers were regular users of mobile phones and tablet PCs for mobile entertainment. 
The group was shown four pieces of video content with quality adjustments made to audio and video components.  Content was viewed on a tablet and the audio was delivered through standard earbuds.   The sequence of video clips was varied across the group.
The viewers’ neuro-reactions were measured using Neuro-Insight’s proprietary SST technology, and were analyzed using 5 different metrics:

• Long-term memory encoding: A measure of how much the brain is remembering
• Engagement: A measure of content’s personal relevance
• The Hedonic Index: A measure that equates broadly to how likeable an experience is
• Emotional Intensity: The strength of any emotional response
• Attention:  Measures how much visual attention is being paid to the content 

The results:
Overall, switching to Headphone:X from standard-quality audio generated an average increase of 42 percent in the Hedonic Index across all video qualities, demonstrating greater enjoyment of the content by the test subject.   
Interestingly, the biggest increase in enjoyment came when Headphone:X audio was added to medium quality video – a 66 percent spike.   Adding Headphone:X audio to low-quality video generated a 29 percent increase, while adding it to high-quality video added a 35 percent increase in enjoyment on the Hedonic Index.
In contrast, maintaining the audio quality and varying the video quality had very little impact – movements of less than one percent across the board. The impact of changes in video quality on tablets was statistically insignificant.
Neuro-Insight concluded that only enhanced audio made a significant statistical difference across any of the measures. The 42 percent increase in the Hedonic Index while experiencing content with Headphone:X audio is a result that’s significant at the 95 percent level.

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