Mobile is all about video, according to the latest State of the Industry: Mobile Video Report from AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL), which found that video viewing has exploded on mobile devices in the past year.
The study found that smartphones are now on par with desktop and laptop computers for video viewing, with 57% of all respondents worldwide watching videos on their smartphones every day, compared with 58% watching it on their computers. These numbers are even higher for the US, with 67% viewing video every day on their mobile devices and 70% on computers.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they can't live without their smartphones or always have them within arm's reach. AOL concludes that we are approaching a tipping point where mobile will become the number one video screen.
This fits with earlier research from Zenith, which found that mobile devices were the only media platforms growing time spent, i.e., consumers were spending less time watching TV, or consuming media via desktop computers while increasing the time spent using media applications on mobile devices. (See Mobile Cannibalizing Other Media, Finds Latest Zenith Media Consumption Forecast.)
However, AOL also found that the attention span of the average video viewer was limited -- 42% of respondents watched videos of five minutes or less daily, but the percentage viewing dropped as the duration of the video increased. This could be an important metric, as it suggests that even though video viewing is growing on mobile devices, it's more user-generated content or other short clips, rather than TV programs or movies. As such, it's a different type of content/use-case than pay-TV.
It would also suggest that Facebook and Snapchat are on the right track with their video strategies, with live streaming principally aimed at mobile devices and integrated into the broader -- and bursty -- social networking experience. (See Social Video Could Be the Next Great Challenge for Network Operators.)
AOL found that live streaming is being adopted quickly, with 65% of consumers viewing it worldwide. Southeast Asia had the highest viewership, with 76% of respondents viewing live video on their smartphones.
VR/360-degree video was also expected to grow, with 31% of US consumers and 21% of Southeast Asia consumers expecting to consume more 360-degree video in 2017. But interest was lower in other geographies, such as Canada and the UK, with only 9% in each country expecting to do the same.
AOL also concluded that advertisers and publishers are expecting to increase their spending n mobile video. Forty-seven percent of advertisers and 57% of publishers expect to increase their mobile ad spend by at least a quarter in 2017.
In a sobering finding for the TV industry, the increased investment in mobile video will come at the expense of TV budgets.
AOL's global research study also explores consumers' engagement with digital video, and expectations for 2017 within the digital video industry. This is the seventh year running that AOL has conducted this study, and it also identifies changes in behavior year-over-year. The study was conducted across seven global markets, including the United States, Canada (French), Canada (English), the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Australia and Southeast Asia.
— Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation