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Smartphones reached a new milestone in this past quarter, declares Ooyala in its latest quarterly Global Video Index [download page]. For the first time in Q2 the devices exceeded a majority share of all digital video plays worldwide, hitting 52%, representing solid growth year-over-year (from 46% in Q2 2017) and well above the previous high of 46.9% set in Q1 2017.

In so doing, smartphones continued to far outpace tablets in share of digital video plays, with the latter at roughly 10% share.

In sum, mobile devices represented 62% of all video starts during the second quarter, an almost 10% year-over-year rise, and also marking a new high.

Mobile Video Especially Prominent in APAC

The Ooyala report demonstrates that mobile’s share of video plays is higher in some regions than others. In particular, mobile devices combined for an impressive three-quarters (74%) of all plays in the Asia-Pacific region, up 21% year-over-year. The analysts attribute the jump largely to an increase in OTT content over the past 18 months, including sports in Australia.

Latin America, meanwhile, also displayed an above-average reliance on mobile devices for video plays. Almost two-thirds (65%) of plays began on a mobile device, up from 54% in Q2 2017 and 47% in Q2 2016. Ooyala notes that Latin America has consistently been behind only the Asia-Pacific region in this area, with both displaying similar traits including expanding OTT content, burgeoning smartphone adoption, and an increase in 4G networks and commitment to 5G.

By comparison, more mature markets in the US and Europe lag slightly in mobile video. North America’s share was 56% this past quarter, as it exhibited slower growth (from 54% a year earlier) than in other regions.

The EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region trailed, with mobile devices accounting for 54% of all video plays, though that was slightly faster growth than in North America, up from 49% during the year-earlier period.

Digital to Occupy One-Fifth of Video Ad Spend in 5 Years

Despite the rapid ascent of mobile video – and digital video as a whole – linear TV should remain the dominant force in video advertising for some time to come. A new Strategy Analytics forecast suggests that while digital video is the fastest-growing digital category – predicted to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% from 2018-2023 – it will occupy only one-fifth (20%) of global video ad spend by 2023.

The prediction presents some evidence that runs contrary to the prevailing trends: that some major advertisers have moved ad spend away from digital video and to TV, audio and e-commerce in response to lack of efficiency in digital ad spend and continued brand safety and fraud concerns. Standard Media Index had seen some evidence of a similar shift in the US in 2016, but its latest results concerning the national TV 2017-2018 broadcast season don’t show a rebound for linear TV.

For its part, Zenith predicts that online video ad spending will be almost one-quarter (23%) of the size of TV ad spending globally by 2020.

In other highlights from the Strategy Analytics data:

  • Global TV ad spending is expected to reach $210 billion in 2023, compared to $51 billion for digital video ad spend;
  • The US – as the largest TV advertising market – will account for close to 36% of the $195 billion+ in global TV ad spend this year; and
  • Digital’s share of global video ad spend in 2023 is expected to be more than twice as high in the UK (44%) as the global average (20%), with the US (30%) and China (27%) also other key markets with above-average allocations to digital.

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