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During the first quarter of the year video viewers spent more time watching long-form content (at least 20 minutes in length) than content of any other length, regardless of the device used. That’s according to the most recent quarterly report from Ooyala [download page], which notes that while this milestone was first reached in Q1 2017, it’s no longer a trend, but rather “the status quo.”

Long-form content continues to be most dominant on connected TVs, where it accounted for virtually all (almost 99%) of global time spent viewing video during the quarter. This lengthier content also hogged three-quarters of tablet viewing time for the quarter, up from 71% in Q4.

Viewers on PCs and smartphones tend to be more democratic in their approach to video length, mixing in short-form with long-form, and also some medium-form content (5-20 minutes). Yet in each case long-form content represented a majority of time spent viewing video, at 55% for PCs and 54% for smartphones.

Notably, viewing patterns in North America showed above-average engagement with long-form content on all devices, but particularly on smartphones. In fact, content at least 20 minutes in length comprised fully 86% of time spent viewing video on smartphones in North America, far above the 54% global average.

Long-form content appears to be less popular on smartphones for viewers in Latin America and the Asia Pacific, per the report.

It’s Not Always the Biggest Screen, but the One That’s Closest At Hand

Ooyala’s analysts argue that while some content seems more suited for viewing on a large than small screen, there are plenty of situations in which content is viewed on the closest screen at hand (that the viewer has control over).

The report gives the example of a viewer wanting to watch a baseball game but being caught in a bar showing only a NASCAR race. In that case the viewer is likely to watch the game on a mobile phone.

But what are engagement trends like for long-form content on smaller screens? As it turns out, not that far off from larger screens.

Using data specifically from broadcasters, Ooyala reports that viewers watched long-form content of 20-40 minutes in length to completion slightly more than 71% of the time on PCs, 61% of the time on PCs and almost 57% of the time on smartphones.

As content becomes lengthier, engagement drops off, but again not by too much. For “ultra-long-form content” that is at least 40 minutes in length (such as episodic dramas), completion rates averaged 59% on PCs, 51% on tablets, and 45% on smartphones.

The full report is available for download here.

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