Well, there was a big surprise in this quarters Global Video Index (Q2 2017, you can download it here): Overall the global growth of viewing on mobile devices stalled, growing less than one percent.
After 22 quarters of growth that was – for a dozen quarters – double-digit, Q2 saw mobile squeeze out just a 0.4% gain over Q1, growing to 56.7% of all video views. Smartphone views saw a slight decline while tablets grew to their highest share ever, 10.6%
Mobile views barely topped 50% in North America, but they hit an all-time high in Asia Pacific, more than 72% or all views there were on mobile devices, primarily smartphones. Both EMEA (57.7%) and LatAm (56%) saw mobile video views grow modestly.
The increased share for tablets globally likely reflects the mild rebound sales saw in Q2, led by Apple’s iPad. While tablet replacement cycles appear to be getting longer, there’s little doubt their penetration into household around the world makes them a serious consideration for content owners looking to increase engagement. Tablets continue to be introduced to younger children in schools, helping to insure potential audience growth.
We’ll see a similar bump in smartphone video viewing as more new devices come on line. Samsung new Galaxy and Apple’s trio of new iPhones – the X, 8 and 8 Plus – all have upgraded screens and will provide additional fuel to mobile video consumption.
I’m sticking with my forecast earlier this year that we’ll see mobile video plays reach 60% of all plays by the end of this year, especially as iPhone and Galaxy shipments kick in.
The Video Index also found that the world’s love of long-form content – content longer than 20 minutes – remained an all-device affair for the second consecutive quarter. Smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs all saw long-form time watched exceed 50%. Time watched on smartphones and desktops was at 53%, long form on tablets claimed 82% of all time watched and, of course, nearly all (96%) of time watched on connected TVs was long form.
That growing long-form share is being driven by an increasing amount of premium content coming online from content owners looking to connect with Millennials. A byproduct of that content rush is that users in all demographics have begun to adopt the “closest screen is the primary screen” philosophy… especially if it’s mobile.
It also, obviously, is being driven by the cord-cutting phenomenon that is prevalent in North America and on the upswing in EMEA.
Between tablets, PCs and smartphones, meanwhile, the longest average time watched with long form video was 44 minutes, about the length of an hour-long television episode (sans commercials). Smartphones saw averages of 38.5 minutes and PCs just 25.3 minutes… a trend we’ve seen developing for the past several quarters as desktop and laptop computers slowly see a role change in online video.
Increasingly, short-form (0-5 minutes) is being watched on PCs (35%) and smartphones (36%), although the share on smartphones has plummeted from 55% just a year ago.
While long-form content has seen growing consumption trends across the world, on a regional basis, it’s interesting to note its preponderance on mobile devices, where it’s watched between 2.4 and 3.3 times more than on PCs.
There’s little doubt demand for content over-the-top continues to accelerate. While Netflix and Amazon are expected to continue spending massively on content – Netflix is on track to introduce 126 new titles this year – there’s a heck of a lot of activity elsewhere, too.
Content creators are being pressed to roll out titles at an ever quickening pace. As the OTT industry continues to expand its ability to offer Global entertainment channels, those titles often have to be crafted for consumption in multiple languages and to match up with local mores and, sometimes, disparate government regulation on content.
Those needs underline the impact software that can be used to automate segments of the process (and also reduce time to market) can have on the bottom line. Look for the boom in content demand to continue.
Interested in hearing more about this quarters Global Video Index? We’ll be hosting a pair of webinars Sept. 26.