Everyone’s watching their phones. It’s become so incredibly normal to watch video on the phone that long-form content is flourishing on the small screen.
About 30% of smartphone owners in the US and Canada are watching TV shows, while 20% are watching movies on their phones, according to a just-released study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau on mobile viewing, surveying consumers in 24 countries. This trend is manifesting around the globe. In Latin America about 22% of smartphone users watch movies and TV shows, while in Europe the figures range from 19% to 23% for TV and film viewership. China rocks when it comes to smartphone usage, with 56% of smartphone owners watching films on the small screen.
While this trend is positive in many ways for the media business, it presents some challenges too. That’s because the IAB found this small-screen viewing is cutting into traditional TV time. On a worldwide basis, 22% of viewers say they watch less traditional programming because of their small-screen viewership. In some markets, that percentage is much higher — with China reporting that 37% of viewers watch less traditional programming because of mobile viewing, while 26% do so in the United Kingdom and 25% in the United States.
These habits raise the question of how advertisers can take advantage of the shift. Viewers often say they see the same ads on mobile phones that they see on TV, suggesting an opportunity to customize ads for small screens. About 82% of smartphone viewers want mobile ads tailored to them: such as through the video being watched, their recent viewing activity or their favorite brands.