Report: Mobile Grows to More Than 50% of VOD Starts

Ooyala sees long-form viewing growing on smartphones

More than half of all global video on demand starts take place on mobile devices, according to a new report from Ooyala.

In its Q4 Global Video Index report, Ooyala says that mobile viewing now makes up 54% of global video plays, up from 46% a year ago. The company expects video plays to account for 60% in the near future.

In terms of ad-supported video on demand, 56% take place on mobile devices. Mobile has its lowest share in North America, where it represents less than 50% of video starts, more than 10% lower than the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions.

“Mobile video — in one form or another — will continue to grow as younger users who have been tethered to their mobile devices since birth continue to play a larger role in the ecosystem,” the report says. “It also will grow as more operators look to mobile video for subscriber growth and profits à la AT&T and its DirecTV Now play, and as industry leaders Netflix and Amazon continue to tweak their massive services, offering more and more ‘content to go’ via downloads for offline viewing.”

The largest share of global on-demand viewing—45%—takes place on smartphones, with desktops representing 44% and tablets 11%. In North America, there is more viewing of long-form video than either short-form or mid-form.

Ooyala also found that more than 47% of the time spent watching videos on smartphones was spent watching long-form content. Snackable, short-form content represented just 40% of time spent watching on mobile devices.

“Where online content once was seen as supplemental to traditional TV, it’s now replacing it,” the report says. While the connected TV screen clearly has the edge for long- and medium-form content, it by no means has a monopoly. Connected devices of all kinds are continuing to take viewing time away from traditional TV and also are having an impact on movie theaters, which in 2016 saw profits drop a further 15%.

Ad dollars are following viewing. Ooyala says that in 2018 marketers are expected to spend $114 billion on mobile advertising, more than PC and behind only TV at $215 billion. 

(Photo via Pabak Sarkar's Flickr. Image taken on Feb. 15, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)