Commentary

UPDATED: Big News From Small Screen, Reports Ooyala and Nielsen

The latest documentation of the growth of mobile video comes from Ooyala, which in a new report today notes that 34% of all video plays in Q4 happened via mobile phones or tablets. A separate report from Nielsen also shows the rapid rise of mobile and tablet viewership

Ooyala said the amount of video played on mobile video doubled in its year-to-year comparison. In fact, mobile/smartphone video views in December alone were 114% higher than the same month a year earlier, it reported. 

The implications are as obvious as they are, by now, well known: This avalanche has been in progress for a while.

Ooyala concludes, “as online viewing shifts from PCs to tablets and mobile, we will see broadcasters and publishers increasing the number of ad breaks and ad loads on non-PCs. As mobile and tablets increasingly become common viewing ports for longer, premium content, it’s likely that viewers will tolerate heavier ad loads, up to, perhaps, even those enjoyed by traditional television.”

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Aaargh! Not that.

The report continues: “Broadcasters and publishers are leaving money on the table and need to make sure to have a strategy in place to fully monetize mobile and tablets. One such strategy employed by successful clients is to sell one audience across devices.”

Meanwhile, Nielsen reported time spent watching online content rose 38.5% in year-to-year comparison of Q4 data, to 10 hours and 29 minutes. Nielsen said the amount of time smartphone consumers spent watching on their devices increased 27% to 43 minutes and 14 seconds per week.

Impressive.

For me, one of the complications of these rush-to-mobile reports is that, in fact, there is an altogether explosion of video online, regardless of device. 

Cisco has noted that globally, video will make up be 84% of all consumer Internet traffic within three years, up from 78% in 2014, regardless of device.  

So while it’s interesting to see how mobile and tablet video use is exploding, it’s part of the overall boom. It’s just the newest, and for now, loudest noise. Ooyala itself keeps pushing up the time that it predicts more than half of all video views will come via mobile devices. Now it’s due to happen sometime this year.

Ooyala says mobile and tablets are becoming “the devices of choice for watching video--both short and long form. That means that brands and advertisers will begin to shift a growing share of ad spend to that segment.”

The Global Video Index, Q4 2014 notes the shift, in some dizzying detail. 

For example, mobile phones are still the device of choice for watching shorter (less than six-minute long) video--it makes up more than 54% of time users spent on video. But tablet viewers, lumped with phone viewers in many cases, have a separate reality. They have the highest percentage of time (70%) watching videos longer than ten minutes, which is longer than connected TVs, PCs and mobile phones.

It’s still true that we’re spending more time watching in the living room than anywhere else, but there is real competition for that. The Ooyala report says as broadband prices drop and wireless data caps are solved, “more will flock to mobile devices to consume all sorts--and lengths--of premium content,” and publishers will use analytics to determine just how much advertising consumers can handle. 

“In many cases, those loads may be far higher than they’re currently running. That, in turn, will allow them to maximize monetization on every screen, from the largest to the smallest,” it says.


pj@mediapost.com
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