Commentary

Watching Mobile Videos Outside The Home: Go Long, Go Quickly, Go 'Premium'?

I’ll make one more reference to Quibi, the departed digital-first short-form TV platform, to ask: Who really is watching any premium, TV content, on their mobile phones?

I haven’t seen any specific research yet. But I’d say people are probably watching way less traditional half-hour or hour-long shows.

Let’s look at it another way. According to a recent Statista poll, 43% of mobile users watch “videos” (no mention of length) while also watching programs on their television sets. This is multitasking of a higher order -- watching two different pieces of video content simultaneously.

Still, while watching TV, checking/responding to emails is easily the number-one activity, chosen by 76% of respondents. Activities ranked second through sixth: Using social media (71%); checking information about TV content being watched (68%); playing games (55%); online shopping (54%); and online banking (44%).

Back to Quibi. Its original premise of premium short-form TV/video was designed for consumers in line at a bank, in a doctor’s waiting room, or perhaps waiting for their burrito to be rolled up at Chipotle.

In particular, Quibi’s six-minute to 10-minute long segments could pull in consumers for the higher engagement advertisers continue to seek. But maybe Quibi should have figured out how much real investment users were willing to make over the entire length of a TV series while outside the home.

So, for example, if you watched a segment of a Quibi series in the morning while waiting in line at a bank, would you be watching the same show later in the afternoon while awaiting your second vaccination  shot?

Maybe another 10 minute segment would be too long. Not only that, but some quick, less “premium” content could be more appealing -- say that funky 45-second YouTube video of a guy trying to dunk a basketball and falling into a pool of Jello.

Going back then, to some longer “premium” TV viewing at the supermarket? Maybe. Indeed, short-form videos do have their place.

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1 comment about "Watching Mobile Videos Outside The Home: Go Long, Go Quickly, Go 'Premium'?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 25, 2021 at 7:58 a.m.

    Wayne, as far as I know,  Statista doesn't conduct reserch studies, they merely take whatever info they  can find--like press releases---and publish them. They've done it with Media Dynamics  releases on the TV upfront.  As for the question of multitasking while watching TV, if you ask any sample of people if they "ever" or "often" or "frequently" turn to a second screen while "watching TV"you will get numbers like the one you cited---or higher---but this does not mean that such behavior happens every time a person watches TV---or every other time.  We cover this in "TV Dimensions 2021" and it seems clear that while second screen usage is now one of the ways that people avoid commercials---not necessarily program  content----the average minute incidence is far lower than many think. I, too, have not seen evidence that people watching program content are displaying signs of shorter attention spans---but this is an interesting possibility and needs some good research to document it. I would assume that the main attention span issue would revolve around very young adults and teens---but this has always been the case. Since such viewers now represent a much reduced proportion of the average minute "linear TV" audience this may not be a problem for TV programmers supplying the broadcast networks and cable channels with content as might have been the case twenty-five years ago.

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