Successful OTT service providers globally more than doubled the number of assets in their video supply chain during 2017, increasing the number of video assets processed 112% over the 12 months, according to Ooyala’s Q4 2017 Video Index.
The largest increase came in long-form content (video more than 20 minutes long), which saw the number of hours processed increase 159%. Short-form content (0-5 mins.) saw the next largest increase at 112% and medium-form content (5-20 mins.) grew 87%.
The study – drawing from customers that have been with Ooyala at least three years – shows that OTT providers believe a continuous stream of fresh content is crucial to keeping customers engaged and loyal.
But creating and licensing an increasing library of new content is an expensive undertaking, one that consistently is among the top – if not the top – expenses for OTT companies. Managing that expense, by using technology to help automate the production process, for example, can help trim costs, making more cash available for content acquisition – the lifeblood of OTT services.
Mobile tops 60% for the first time
Ooyala’s Global Video Index (which can be downloaded here) also found that the number of video starts on smartphones and tablets topped 60%. It was the first time since the 2011 inception of the report that mobile plays exceeded 60%.
While smartphone plays were up just 1.8% from Q4 2016, tablet plays jumped nearly 68% from a year ago and made up 12.8% of all video plays. Still, smartphones remain dominant with a nearly 4:1 ratio in plays over tablets.
A surge in video plays during November and December – likely helped by the release of new iPhone models and increased video viewing during the holidays – pushed mobile’s share to 60.3% for Q4.
Regionally, EMEA has the highest share of video plays occur on mobile devices at 63.5%, with tablet share exceeding 15.8%, also the highest in the world.
Asia-Pacific saw mobile plays share of all video plays top 60% for the third consecutive quarter (60.5%), up 12% Y/Y, with tablets share of video plays topping 12.7%.
North America’s mobile plays topped 57.6% for the quarter, an increase of 11% from a year ago and the region’s highest mobile share ever. Tablet share was 10.8%.
Latin America was the only region to see smartphone-only plays top 50% (51.2%), with tablets adding just 5.1%, the lowest of any region. The total mobile share was 56.3%.
Mobile growth is far from done
Mobile’s growth has been extraordinary, but it’s not even close to done, yet. Within the next two or three years, it’s likely that mobile will see its share of plays pass 70% as providers make more premium content available on the devices and users turn to smartphones specifically to “prospect” for content, eventually settling down to watch it on the largest screen available.
With the arrival of 5G networks in earnest by 2020, mobile delivery of OTT channels will become the norm, with casting of content to larger screens a routine – and simple – process that will continue to evolve the way we watch TV.