Mobile is the future. But that shift to mobile brings with it another trend: a seismic shift in the way video is consumed. As more people have access to their own personal viewing devices, they’re using them to consume all content — including video — at an increasing rate. This has not escaped the attention of advertisers, who are eager to chase video consumption trends in an effort to reach new audiences. The world is watching a lot more video on mobile devices than it used to, especially when comparing present viewing with 2012 viewing, when there were fewer options and slower connections.
Communications giant Ericsson released the 2016 edition of its TV and Media report, which analyzes viewing stats for 1.1 billion people and is based on online interviews with 30,000 people in 24 countries. The marquee stat this time is that average yearly viewing time is now 200 hours greater than it was in 2012. Since people are watching 4 additional hours per week on mobile, their overall screen viewing time has grown by 1.5 hours per week. Standard television viewing (which Ericsson calls “fixed screen viewing”) has fallen by 2.5 hours per week. One thing not obvious in Ericsson’s findings is that standard TV viewing is still much more popular than mobile. The report sees content discovery as a major pain point for linear video. In the U.S., 44 percent can’t find linear programming that appeals to them on a daily basis. That’s a rise from 36 percent last year. Content discovery takes longer with VOD services, but viewers find it less frustrating.
Over the same four-year period, U.S. consumers have ramped up their spending on video-on-demand services (many of which didn’t exist four years ago). Ericsson says that VOD spending has grown 60 percent since 2012, going from an average of $13 per month to $20 per month. The average U.S. household uses 1.3 scheduled linear TV services and 3.8 VOD services.
Mobile for video viewing
The mobile phone as a viewing device is growing by leaps, bounds and tall buildings too, according to new data from Ooyala. In the third quarter of 2017, mobile devices were the medium of choice for 52% of all video views. That’s a huge increase from three years ago — more than triple the rate. Ooyala added that the quick increase exceeds the global rate of adoption of mobile devices. The Ooyala data comes from an analysis of viewing trends of more than 200 million people around the world, the company said.
Interestingly, most mobile views originate on phones rather than tablets. About 85% of the video views came from phones. What’s more, phone viewers aren’t just gobbling up the so-called snack-size content. They are increasingly giving their attention to longer-form content. About 48% of video viewing on phones comes from content that’s five minutes or longer, up from 23% a year ago. Where the eyeballs go, the ads follow. Mobile devices served up 44% of broadcasters’ pre-roll ads, about the same share as computer screens. Meanwhile, publishers generated 39.7% of ad impressions on mobile devices, with 60.2% on computers. Ooyala also noted a rise in mobile sports viewing in Europe. Great Britain claims 59% of sports views on mobile devices, with Europe at 54% and the United States at 52%. That compares to a global average of 49%.
Emerging challenges for Netflix and other streaming services
Mobile VOD company Vuclip conducted a survey for 2017 on global video insights across 4,600 users India, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, UAE and Philippines along with the US, UK, Singapore and Australia markets. Netflix’s arrival in India is believed to revolutionize the video streaming segment in India. With growing ecosystem around faster 4G and Wi-Fi networks, multimedia streaming services are gradually becoming popular. Netflix is likely to leverage this growth to push forward its global expansion. But there are a number of challenges that Netflix and other streaming services like Hooq and Spuul are likely to face in India.
One of the key challenges is making the Indian users pay for the content. According to the report, only 23 percent Indians have shown the propensity to pay for video content. This is perhaps why most users are downloading content through torrents. Offline feature is equally important for Indians. Considering that people prefer downloading over Wi-Fi and save on mobile data, services such as YouTube offline are highly popular. About 56 percent of Indian viewers prefer offline mode, while 52 percent want the autonomy to select video streaming quality.
Even though people like to watch videos on phones, traditional medium such as TV is still the preferred device for long-term consumption. Moreover, video consumption while travelling is higher in India (56 percent) as compared to developed nations (46 percent). The Indian market is slowly maturing but right now services like Netflix have to be able to optimize their services for Indian conditions, like Google has done with its YouTube. Things such as local language support and offline modes are really popular in the country.
Here are some of the key findings about video viewing habits of Indian users from the Vuclip report:
- 56 percent of Indian viewers prefer the option of downloading videos while 52 percent also prefer of having the option to choose video streaming quality.
- Buffering while viewing videos is a key inhibitor for 23 percent of Indians to watch online videos.
- Smartphones are the preferred devices for watching online video. Unlike developed markets where users watch videos on smartphones with displays bigger than 5-inches, Indian viewers watch them on smartphones with 4.6-inch to 5-inch displays.
- Television remains to be the preferred medium for watching videos with 87 percent viewers preferring a television, which is bigger than 72 percent in developed markets.
- On smartphones, 85 percent viewers prefer to watch content shorter than 10 minutes.
- 65 percent of Indian viewers use mobile data networks to view content, which is higher than that in developed markets (51 percent). This is due to lower broadband Internet penetration and the lack of public Wi-Fi networks.
- Only 23 percent of Indian viewers prefer buying video content, with torrents being the preferred method to access content. In developed markets, 51 percent of viewers buy video content.
- Only 30 percent of the video content viewed on laptops is streaming and 70 percent is downloaded content. However, on mobile phones 65 percent content is streamed, which is usually because of limited internal storage.
Content and networks:
60% viewers prefer comedy content, while mobile network usage accounted for 65% in India, as compared to 49% in developed markets. While travelling, Indian consumers consumed 56% of video content, as compared to 46% in developed nations. Torrent downloads were a dominant mode of sourcing in India: 67% accounted for downloads, whereas this number was 48% in developed countries. 40% of Indian consumers paid for videos through platforms like iTunes and YouTube, and it was 29% for developed nations. 23% of viewers in India viewed buffering as a key inhibitor to video consumption on smartphones.