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Why Mobile Devices Now Account for More Than Half of Online Viewing

For the first time ever, the majority of online viewing is taking place on mobile devices, according to new research by Ooyala. Drawing on insights from over 3.5 billion video analytic events per day from 220 million viewers across the world, Ooylah found that mobile devices now represent 51 percent of all online viewing. So why are people choosing mobile over desktop?

Ooyala’s research shows that, compared to just one year ago, mobile viewing is up 15 percent – compared to 2014, it’s up a whopping 203 percent! Ooyala also found that Smartphones were the primary drivers of this growth (making up 43 percent of all video views, with tablets making up the remaining 8 percent). This is a significant milestone, and indicates that people’s preferences regarding how they interact with digital video content are changing.

Some of the factors behind this change are relatively straightforward: the increased prevalence of global 3G and 4G networks allows people to access video content on the move; faster loading times and reduced buffering means that users can watch more videos in a specified timeframe; brands are explicitly prioritising video content; and the continued growth of social media means that video content is more likely to be shared.

However, at the same time, the rise of AVOD, SVOD, and TVOD is also playing a role in bolstering the consumer preference for mobile viewing. Companies implementing any one of these business models are looking to make their offerings more mobile-friendly, which means mobile optimised websites, automatic quality control (based on the strength of a user’s connection), and an intentional focus on short-form video content – which, according to Ooyala, dominates share of viewing on smartphones at 55 percent.

That VOD companies are making their offerings more mobile-friendly goes a long way in explaining why users are choosing to watch more video content on mobile devices. But why do VOD companies want more mobile users?

Well, since mobile users are able to access video content in more times and places (say, on the train) – and so long as VOD companies create short-form video content that they can use to fill these often relatively short periods – VOD companies are able to increase the amount of time users spend on their sites.

Ooyala’s research indicates that 74 percent of mobile users subscribe to at least one OTT SVOD service, and that they use their favourite SVOD service for at least 11 hours per week. That’s impressive stuff, and proof that VOD companies have been successful in their attempts to attract more mobile users.

But VOD companies face some problems, too. According to the Ooyala, who assessed subscriber churn as part of their report, 39 percent of customers who churn claim that their decision to do so was made due to a lack of value. This is because, with so many services available, VOD is a buyers’ market, and consumers are increasingly expecting more for their money.

So, whilst we don’t know who the winner of the war for mobile users will be, what we do know is that Ooyala’s research shows that the VOD is here to stay, and that we can expect to see more innovation and creativity in the industry over the next few years.

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