Surge in Mobile Viewing Raises the Bar

May 6, 2015

Viewers are consuming more streaming entertainment on mobile devices, and nowhere is that more evident than in the home. Adobe’s latest Video Benchmark Report says mobile viewing will surpass PC by Q4 2016. Indeed, the report notes that much of the mobile viewing will take place in homes, not through consumers on the go. DirecTV, Dish, Comcast and other cable TV companies are accelerating the shift to mobile viewing with TV Everywhere, which lets subscribers authenticate on mobile apps.

Adobe says that 13 million subscribers of pay TV signed up for mobile viewing options in 2014, up from 6 million in 2013 for a 116% increase year-over-year.  And Apple’s iPad is the most popular device for streaming TV Everywhere content, accounting for 29% of views in Q4 2014. By the end of 2015, Adobe forecasts that 17.5% of cable TV customers will access TV Everywhere, up from just 6.5% two years earlier.

As viewing of Internet video shifts to mobile, digital advertising dollars will go along for the ride. “There’s no doubt that mobile devices are becoming a better environment for digital advertising,” said Tamara Gaffney, an analyst at Adobe Digital Index. “People are watching more video via their devices, and the larger form factor is even driving them to watch videos all the way through.”

Larger screen smartphones from Apple and a growth in tablet use are also driving the shift to mobile. It appears that smartphones, in particular, are being increasingly used by consumers to catch-up on news, movies and previews. Digitalsmiths reports that 39.3% of users watch video on their smartphone. News is still the most popular genre at 16.7%, while 15.2% are watching movies. 15.4% watch TV and movie previews and 10.4% use the smartphone to catch up on TV shows or watch a re-run.

Conviva’s 2015 Viewer Experience Report highlights that the number of Android devices tracked by OpenSignal, grew from over 11,000 in 2013 to nearly 19,000 in 2014. Furthermore, the VXR shows that the number of devices used within each household has grown from 1.2 in 2012 to over 1.5 last year, representing a major tipping point: the average household of three people can now be expected to be using two devices at one time. TV is continually becoming a more individual, rather than, community experience.

Conviva ensures the quality of the experience is optimal across any device or platform, which is crucial for providers, as the options for digital content explode. Dish Network, HBO and Sony recently launched over-the-top  streaming services (SVOD), and both Verizon and Apple have made announcements to follow suit. As OTT viewers look over one another’s shoulders, they’re comparing their experiences to identify the best one available and migrate to the service that best meets their need.

SVOD services are now solidly in the mainstream for the U.S. entertainment consumer. In Nielsen’s latest Q4 2014 Total Audience Report, the company revealed that 40.3% of U.S. television homes now have at least one SVOD service, like Netflix or Amazon Prime. In addition, these same households are above-average when it comes to ownership of streaming-capable devices, PCs, tablets, and HD or smart TVs.

Digitalsmiths highlights that 57% of viewers cite convenience as the #1 reason for using an SVOD service, with content selection, cost and mobility falling right behind. 15.8% cite their reason as the ability to watch on smartphone, increasing from 12.7% a year earlier. And the ability to watch on tablet also rose from 21.4% to 24.3%.

As the online video industry continues to evolve and expand its offerings, companies investing in over-the-top video offerings remain a safe bet for the future. With this continued growth in OTT offerings, companies will find the ability to deliver the highest quality experience across multiple devices to be their next competitive advantage.