Ooyala's Q2 Report: Video World Order Evolves

The online video business seems to be kind of post-trend at the moment. There are no bulletins about the growth of mobile video. Been there. Nothing startling about watch-the-handiest device trends. Screen agnostics are preaching to the choir.

So the Ooyala Q2 Global Video Index hits without marking a nascent development, except perhaps that everything is still going just like it has been going. It’s the New Same-Old Same-Old. Usually stuff falls apart.

The report begins quoting Winston Churchill (eerily Donald Rumsfeld-like), observing, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning,” a statement editors would red-pencil, especially had young Winston been paid by the word. But after a series of defeats, the British repelled Rommel in Egypt and the tide had turned, he said. History was on his side.



I’ve just concluded: It’s so hard to segue from World War II to the worldwide video market.

But from worldwide revenue gains from programmatic advertising (up 119%) from 40 Ooyala Pulse clients to ad impression increases (modest, in fact), there are no downers here.

Ooyala notes it was not the best of times for pay TV operators, which in the those three months have indeed concluded their time had passed. But that just means that the action is moving to broadband and mobile. Nearly half of all video plays in Q2 were on mobile devices, and eight times as many of those happened on the smartphone, not the tablet.

And while the big TVs might have lost the big mo, the companies that feed that beast had not, not really. Jim O’Neill, Ooyala’s wise-owl principal analyst and “Videomind editor” (a fitting honorific) pointed out telcos and their ilk added 360,000 new subscribers to that high-margin end of the business.

Mobile phones were top choice for 23% of the plays for videos over 30 minutes long, which was third best behind connected TVs (52%) and tablets (36%). For advertisers within broadcasted content,, completion rates seemed encouraging: They were all above 90% . Other content from other publishers also saw completion rate gains.

A fun part of the Ooyala report briefly trots out predictions from others that all suggest that if this is the end of the beginning, the reality of the present seems pretty radical in many aspects. ZenithOptimedia, for example, predicts a 23% global  increase in time spent watching online video in 2015.. In 2014, mobile devices accounted for 40% of time spent watching video worldwide. That will morph to 53% in 2016. Wowza.

The U.K.’s FCC equivalent, Ofcom, reports 45% of consumers 16-24 were more likely to use a smartphone than a set-top hooked up unit to watch content and that consumers under 45 were the big movers behind an 8%-12% decline in traditional TV viewing.

Like many consumption numbers associated with online video, the percentage increases quarterly and yearly seem so routinely astronomical I sometimes think you could grab some triple digit out of thin air and not be too far off.

Now, Ooyala asserts, viewing trends for mobile device are still going up, but at a “more reasonable” pace. Year to year, mobile video plays increased 74% (still in the “whopping” category) but only 6% quarter to quarter this year (which is so reasonable it sounds almost troublesome). 

Ooyala concludes, though, that the idea of mobile video snacking is moving toward larger sit-down video feasts--even motion pictures. The IAB has reported, and Ooyala notes, that 30% of U.S. and Canadian smartphone users watch full-length TV shows on their small screens and 20% use a smartphone to watch movies. Sometimes I wonder if economically squeezed younger people are doing this out of choice, or because a smartphone is the only multi-use device they’ll spend money (and time) on.

And let’s be clear: Still, 67% of the content consumed on smartphones was less than 10 minutes. Brevity has a good home in the world’s hip pockets.

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