nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Mobile OTT video access critical to TV Everywhere success

video access iOS android

According to the latest Adobe Video Benchmark, the smartphone has overtaken the tablet as the go-to device for video consumption, though mobility only accounts for 30% of accesses overall. However, for TV Everywhere apps mobile OTT video access!

tablet smartphone video usage comparedAccording to Adobe, 13.6% of video starts are now instigated from smartphones, while 13.0% come from tablets. In Q2 of 2013, the tablet reigned supreme with a 10.1% share versus 8.5% for the smartphone. That means video requests to the smartphone increased 59% over the last year, while requests to tablets grew a more modest 29%.

BBC iPlayer data from the UK shows the tablet still leads, but that the smartphone is catching up fast. 37% of iPlayer online requests come from tablets, and 24% from smartphones. However, smartphone usage is growing faster. iPlayer tablet video requests increased 25% over the previous year while smartphone requests increased 32%.

Why the big growth in smartphone video use? Two factors are likely at play. Firstly, screen sizes on smartphones are getting bigger. The new iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch display, 38% bigger than an iPhone 5 and just 30% smaller than the iPad mini (which has a 7.9 inch display.) Secondly, penetration of smartphones is far deeper than tablets. 55% of US adults own a smartphone while 42% own a tablet.* 41% own a tablet in the UK and around 50% a smartphone. With tablet sales slowing worldwide and smartphone sales continuing to grow, the number using smartphones to watch video are liable to continue to grow faster than tablets.

While the number of video starts are growing fast to the smartphone, the smaller screen loses out heavily in video finishes. Adobe data shows that video completions are significantly lower for the smaller screen than for the TV or computer. Just 16.6% of videos viewed on a tablet or smartphone are watched to 75% completion. 50% of PC and 35% of game console views reach 75% completion.

As one of the principal providers of authentication solutions to the pay TV and content industry, Adobe has a unique view of how TV Everywhere is progressing in the market. The company says the amount of online TV watched through operator portals (Xfinity TV GO, Dish Anywhere etc.) and authenticate content provider apps (Watch Disney, Fox Sports Go etc.) has grown 388% over the last year. This is remarkable performance, though Adobe doesn’t tell us how this compares to OTT video consumption as a whole.

Online TV authentication data also provides some insight on device usage for longer form video. Adobe says the share of authenticated video accesses to iOS devices increased 3% (to 51%) and Android increased 4% (to 20%) over Q2 2013. Android and iOS devices are, of course, mostly tablets and smartphones. Game console usage increased even more, from 3% to 10%. All of this growth was at the expense of the browser, which fell from 33% of online TV authentications in Q2 2013 to 19% in Q2 2014. The browser is the predominant mechanism used by PC users to watch online video.

Comparing authenticated access to overall online video viewing reveals an interesting fact. 26.6% of online video starts come from mobile devices, while Adobe data suggests 70% or more of TVE authentications come from mobile devices. Simply put, for those in the pay TV ecosystem, mobility is everything.

Why it matters

Adobe data shows that, as in the UK, mobile devices are driving growth in online video consumption.

Smartphones are growing in usage faster than tablets.

For TV Everywhere authenticated apps mobile devices are the dominant access method.

* comScore says 174M Americans own a smartphone. The population of the US is 316M.

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