Ooyala: Video viewing on smartphones increased 41-percent during first half of 2013

Ooyala, the online video provider for everyone from ESPN to Comedy Central, released its quarterly video index report, and the findings show a definite shift in viewing habits as people move away from their traditional television sets and gravitate more toward their tablets and smartphones.

In fact, according to Ooyala, the share of video viewing on smartphones increased 41-percent during the first half of 2013, jumping by 28-percent in Q2 alone. The study also found that mobile audiences watch live video nearly twice as long as on-demand video, while more than 20-percent of mobile users stream content more than an hour long. In addition, the majority of mobile viewing is taking place on Friday and Saturday nights, with the stats surging between 8 and 10 pm.

In terms of tablets, viewership spikes at 7 am as people commute to work, but the most views occur at night, between 9 and 10 pm, with tablet audiences spending more than half their time watching premium, long-form content. More specifically, Ooyala finds that one third of a tablet viewer’s time is spent watching content over an hour long. Tablet TV viewers also account for watching 15 minutes of live television per day.

“The growth of mobile and tablet viewing, as a percentage of overall plays, is rapidly accelerating — it’s increased 10x over the past two years,” says Simon Jones, Director of Product Marketing at Ooyala “Tablets and mobile devices are also increasingly being used to watch live and long-form content, indicating that these are first-screen devices, not just second-screen like many have suggested.”

And it’s that shift in live-viewing habits that has broadcasters now shifting priorities.

Says Jones: “Live video — whether it’s sports, news or live episodic content — continues to captivate audiences. We’re seeing engagement with live video as much as 15x longer than VOD. That’s, in part, why you’re seeing major investments from the likes of ESPN and Fox Sports, not only obtaining rights but creating new digital platforms to get live content to all devices. The counter shift we’re also seeing — and this has been covered extensively in regards to unbundling or cord cutting — is that there are certain types of content, like movies, TV series, kids programming that yield itself to on-demand. Netflix’s success and this notion of binge-viewing are prime examples.”

When it comes to Connected TV, while the audience is relatively small (but growing fast), their overall engagement numbers are through the roof. Connected TV viewers watched live-streaming video for an average of 44 minutes per day, with over half of all viewers watching all videos to completion, compared to only one third of desktop viewers.

“For certain types of content, you can’t beat the 10-foot experience that TV offers,” adds Jones. “What we will see, however, is that the traditional ‘broadcast’ method of delivering content to the TV will change — all TV’s will be connected and all content will be delivered over IP. What we also predict, and this trend is confirmed by our data, is that TV viewing time will shift more and more to tablets inside the home, to PCs at work and to mobile outside of the home.

“If you’re a network, operator or media company and you don’t have a TV everywhere or mobile strategy in place, you are behind. Consumers are demanding it, distribution models are changing and there’s a huge opportunity for those companies that get it right. One benefit of IP-delivered TV is that you have the ability to deeply understand your audience and, as a result, deliver a personalized experience. The more data you have, the better the experience you can deliver.”