Mobile Overtakes Desktops in Online Video Plays

ooyala-mobile-share-video-plays-q12014-q12016-sept2016Mobile devices have reached yet another threshold (after recently hitting e-commerce and digital media consumption milestones), according to the latest quarterly Global Video Index [download page] from Ooyala. The report shows that mobile accounted for a majority (51%) of video plays on Ooyala’s platform during the quarter, marking the first time that mobile devices have overtaken desktops.

The share of mobile plays occurring on mobile devices has doubled over the past 2 years, according to a review of prior Ooyala reports. Growth has understandably slowed in recent quarters, though, after a hefty jump between Q4 2014 (34% share) and Q1 2015 (42% share). Nonetheless, Ooyala expects that there remains “plenty of room for expansion.”

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Smartphones continue to be the dominant mobile devices for video views, accounting for 43% of all video plays (or around 85% of mobile video plays) during the second quarter. A recent study from Forrester Research indicates that almost one-third (29%) of adult smartphone users in the US stream TV/video on their devices on at least a weekly basis.

Sticking with smartphone video, the Ooyala report notes that Android and iOS are neck and neck – with Android having the slight edge in share of views (50% to 48%) and iOS having the slight lead in share of time watched (52% to 47%). It’s more skewed on the tablet side, with iPads commanding 65% of tablet views and 72% of time watched. However, those figures are down quite significantly from 91% and 93%, respectively, in the year-earlier period.

Meanwhile, smartphone and tablet owners are using their devices for different types of content. For smartphone video viewers, short-form content (0-5 minutes) continues to dominate, accounting for 55% of all smartphone video time. By contrast, the largest share (46%) of tablet video viewing time is spent with long-form content of at least 20 minutes.

The largest screen most approximates traditional TV viewing, with 92% of set-top device viewing allocated to long-form content during the quarter.

Viewing length seems to be at least in part linked to ad completion rates, with Ooyala noting that broadcasters tend to see higher completion rates than publishers, as the content served by publishers is often “snackable” that consumers only “casually graze.”

For the quarter, completion rates for broadcasters’ pre-rolls averaged 95% on smart TVs, with computers (91%), tablets (90%) and smartphones (87%) following. For publishers, pre-roll rates were again highest on smart TVs (83%), ahead of tablets (81%), computers (76%) and mobile phones (74%).

About the Data: Ooyala notes that “This report reflects the anonymized online video metrics of the vast majority of Ooyala’s 500+ customers, whose collective audience of hundreds of millions of viewers spans nearly every country in the world. This report does not document the online video consumption patterns of the Internet as a whole. But the size of the Ooyala video and advertising footprint, along with the variety of our customers, results in a representative view of global consumption and engagement trends.”