More Than 50% Of All Video Views On Mobile Devices? The Time Is Now, Ooyala Says

Foremost among the awesome stats in the Ooyala’s Q1 Global Video Index, out today, is that viewing on mobile devices--smartphones and tablets--now makes up 42% of total online viewing.

That’s  a dizzyingly large percentage-- in fact double what it was a year ago when the company issued its Q1. Going backward, in Q1 of 2012 that percentage was just 3.4%, then 9.2% by 2013. 

Ooyala states, “Mobile video is on pace to exceed 50% of all online video plays by the third quarter of this year, perhaps sooner.”

The reason it's happening is found in another stat: Screens size is becoming irrelevant, even for longer video. 

On tablets, this report says, 60% of the time spent on video is for content 10 minutes or longer. 

But for connected TVs, that same figure is just 43%, which seems to suggest (to me at least) that the shorthand belief that consumers will choose to view on the biggest screen available is no longer true. 

On mobile phones, 37% of the viewing is for at least ten minutes, and for PCs it’s 35%, but again, keep your eye on mobile. Ooyala notes, pointedly, “access to premium content from TV broadcasters seems to be of great interest to mobile users.”  (Here’s it helpful to point out that it’s of at least as great an interest to Ooyala, which works with many major broadcasters worldwide.)

But even viewing of short videos is going through changes: Viewing of shorter (less than 10 minute long) videos is now the stuff of PCs (65% of the views on that device), slightly more than mobile phones (63%) which is really not much more that connected TVs (57%).

In short, rather than remember the stats, it would probably be just as useful to concede that all kinds of video is consumed on all kinds of devices, so plan for all of them just about the same, as if mobile has the same viewer profile as every other device.

But you don’t need my lecture. Take it from Ooyala’s report authors, instead, who write:

“Publishers, broadcasters and service providers should view this as a critical juncture, the point where a majority — rather than a plurality — of online video views occur on mobile devices. Some operators have taken tactical steps to address the broad consumer trends that are growing mobile video — like pushing more content over the top, creating better user interfaces and improving mobile monetization.”

They’re not done yet: “But with many providers still waiting on the sidelines of the OTT game, it’s become increasingly obvious that in large part, the industry is lagging in execution of mobile initiatives. As our data shows, the audience is clearly ready and waiting for more. Any long-term plan should address quality of delivery, service and user experience, improved and expanded search and discovery and universal monetization strategies.”

Ooyala says the report “reflects the anonymized online video metrics of the vast majority” of its 500 or so customers. Ooyala processes 3.5 billion analytics events each day, and ingested 100 million minutes of video last year, delivered to over 220 million uniques worldwide. 

Keeping them ingesting is the trick, as other parts of this report note. For right now, at least, ad completion rates for online videos from broadcasters are very high: 90% on PCs, 89% for tablets and 79% for mobile devices. Ooyala says that’s because most of that viewing is long form, and viewers recognize they’ve got to stand by for the advertisements. On the other hand, non-broadcast publishers don’t fare as well:  Their completion rates are  73% for PC, 71% for mobile, and 67% for tablets.
Mostly, Ooyala says, that’s because their shorter videos seem easier to leave (and I’d guess, were not chosen with as much thought). Still, odd, isn’t it, that short videos, really still the bread and butter of the online video experience, aren’t necessarily bankable on the device that you'd imagine would be their best screen.

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