Mobile video is on a roll, with multiple recent data sources indicating an explosion in usage. Now, with the introduction of the iPhone 6, mobile video's best days are likely still ahead. That means content providers must further refine their content development and distribution strategies for a more mobile-centric world.
This morning Apple said that it has sold over 10 million of the two new iPhones in their first 3 days of availability. No doubt this is the first of many record-breaking milestones for the new smartphones. Mobile video will benefit from both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as they are extremely video-friendly, with their larger, higher resolution "Retina HD" screens, faster processors and longer battery lives (they're also great video capture devices, but I'll save that angle for another day).
Bigger iPhones fall into the so-called "phablet" category that Samsung pioneered, acting as a combination of a conventional smartphone and a tablet. Tablets have become hugely popular for watching video, but the downside of a tablet is that, unlike a smartphone, it isn't always with you.
According to Ooyala's Q2 '14 Global Video Index, released last week, mobile video (smartphone + tablet) now accounts for 25% of all online video viewing, up from low single digits just 3 years ago. Ooyala believes half of all video viewing will be on mobile devices by 2016.
Meanwhile, in its Q2 '14 Video Monetization Report, FreeWheel found that smartphones accounted for 13% of video monetization, up 93% in the past year (tablets contributed another 7%, up 26% YoY).
Savvy content providers and platforms fully recognize the shift to mobile viewing that's occurring and are moving to capitalize. Great examples in sports include the new NFL Now app which is stocked with tons of game highlights plus originals and the recently-announced SI Wire, for which Sports Illustrated is producing dozens of 30 to 60-second short-form videos per day. Social media platforms like Vine, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube are all mobile-focused in their video approaches. Brands are also increasingly mobile-oriented in their originals and sponsorships.
Two of the key challenges remaining for mobile video are expensive data plans and battery life of the new iPhones. Video is a notorious data hog, so to keep monthly bills in check, WiFi access will be more important than ever for iPhone 6 owners watching a lot of video. Video also chews through a battery's charge, and so even with longer-lasting batteries, iPhone 6 users will be mindful of draining their batteries watching videos, if that means jeopardizing their ability to tap other critical features.
Still, with lots of new mobile-friendly video from an array of providers, ubiquitous publishing and sharing, better monetization (including programmatic) all combined with tens of millions of iPhone 6 users soon enough, mobile video has a very bright future.
Categories: Mobile Video