The idea that a poor video stream will cause viewers to abandon the video is probably a common-sense idea that does not need any proof. Without such proof though it is hard to understand exactly how stream quality affects viewers, and then how to make sure negative effects are minimized. Recently though, researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Akamai have successfully gathered such proof which, more or less, fits what you would expect.
One of the results they found was that, on average, people who watch videos on the Internet are impatient because after just two seconds, if the video has not started, they will abandon the video. The exact amount of time before one abandons the video though varies based on the length of the video (people will wait longer for longer videos) and the kind of connection (mobile viewers were more patient). If the video ever froze, the viewer was less likely to watch all of it: a freeze for just 1% of the video's length resulted in watching 5% fewer minutes of the video. Regardless of the reason to leave the video though, those who did leave the site were 2.3% less likely to return to that site.
While these results may be obvious to some of us, the information should be quite useful for companies that provide video streaming, or produce the video. Potentially this information could affect the systems used to serve the videos, to ensure people stick around for the entire thing.