On Migratory Behavior in Video Consumption

Huan Yan, Haohao Fu, Yong Li, Tzu Heng Lin, Gang Wang, Haitao Zheng, Depeng Jin, Ben Y. Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Today's video streaming market is crowded with various content providers (CPs). For individual CPs, understanding user behavior, in particular how users migrate among different CPs, is crucial for improving users' on-site experience and the CP's chance of success. In this article, we take a data-driven approach to analyze and model user migration behavior in video streaming, i.e., users switching content provider during active sessions. Based on a large ISP dataset over two months (6 major content providers, 3.8 million users, and 315 million video requests), we study common migration patterns and reasons of migration. We find that migratory behavior is prevalent: 66% of users switch CPs with an average switching frequency of 13%. In addition, migration behaviors are highly diverse: regardless large or small CPs, they all have dedicated groups of users who like to switch to them for certain types of videos. Regarding reasons of migration, we find CP service quality rarely causes migration, while a few popular videos play a bigger role. Nearly 60% of cross-site migrations are landed to 0.14% top videos. Finally, we validate our findings by building an accurate regression model to predict user migration frequency as well as user survey, and discuss the implications of our results to CPs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9288838
Pages (from-to)1775-1788
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Video consumption
  • migratory behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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