That Mobile Video Watcher Just Might Be a Couch Potato

According to a new study released Thursday by the Internet Advertising Bureau, 63% of the mobile phone video usage happens at home, not when we are, in the motion-like way, being mobile at all.

And 36% of that mobile-video-watching is happening in the same room where there is a tablet, laptop or that other large thing in the corner over there that shows pictures. Only three percent of mobile video viewing happens because the mobile device is the only item in the room that can provide video.

In fact  92% of these people are so taken by the video they’ve seen that they pass it on, often via Facebook, but often just by showing it to someone else from the same screen. That’s an awesome pass-around rate, and the passing around is very likely beginning from the sofa, not necessarily from an aisle at Home Depot.    

So this blows my image of the average mobile-video-watching person:  Zooey Deschanel walking down the street watching a music video or someone who looks a lot like Zooey Deschanel at least, who hears people note the uncanny resemblance all the time.



No. Not right.

It’s Zooey Deschanel at home. She has a cold. Hey, I saw that commercial.

The bottom line on this is that, in case anyone doubted it, mobile is a powerful carrier for video and video advertising, and right inside the home, a “primary screen for on-demand consumption” and “not as an afterthought,” says David Levin, president of Creative & Technology, 360i, mentioned in the IAB release.

The idea that you might use your smartphone to watch a video when there’s a perfectly good laptop or tablet right there, I suspect, has to do with the definition of “handy.”

If you have your smartphone on your body, and you’re only aiming to waste some time—85% of the videos they watch last ten minutes or less--why get up and go all the over to that table to pick up some other device, or lean forward to grab the remote and noodle around the 700 channels?  

Mobile video usage grows through the day. Prime time is its prime time, too. I don’t know how much TV watching is “deliberate” but in this study, 22% of the mobile video watching was planned, and 18% happened out of pure boredom—the mobile equivalent of “Let’s see what’s on.”

If you dig a little deeper into the IAB study, conducted with 200 participants who filled out diaries and took part in interviews for On Device Research, you discover that 53% of the respondents are more or less receptive toward video advertising. Here’s something that sticks out: 12% say they “like it a lot.” And here’s more what you might expect: the groups that “somewhat” dislikes the ads and dislikes them “a lot” are locked in at 23% each. This shouldn’t be much surprise.

Here’s what they watch: music videos (45%), movie trailers (42%), tutorials/how-tos (41%) funny video clips (37%).  Of the seven categories that apparently register enough to get mentioned, news is seventh (21%). Sports videos don’t even make the cut.

In all, mobile video watchers will see 13.25 videos “per fortnight.” That means every two weeks. (Did VidBlog remind you that On Device Research is based in London?)


You can reach P.J. Bednarski at

1 comment about "That Mobile Video Watcher Just Might Be a Couch Potato".
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  1. Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct, December 13, 2012 at 6:13 p.m.

    In our household, a tremendous amount of mobile video is watched by my son - because we are watching TV or doing something else in the room with the TV. He prefers to watch on his laptop over his mobile. But, he seems to prefer the iPhone for lounging, watching in bed, etc. All this to say: "mobile" is just the title of a type of device we use heavily in our homes --- don't be mis-led by the name.

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