I’m very pleased to share results of a complimentary new report, “TV In Your Pocket: Mobile Video Downloading,” which my colleague Colin Dixon, Chief Analyst, nScreenMedia and I have created. For the report, we analyzed 80 of the top video services. Of the 80 we found that 28 have enabled mobile video downloading, with all of them supporting iOS and all but four of supporting Android.
Top video providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, Showtime and Starz offer downloading. Hulu recently added support for its ad-free SVOD subscribers. Disney+ and Apple TV+ launched with it (though as our testing found, with quite different capabilities). Major services that don’t yet offer downloading include HBO Now, ABC Go, Comedy Central, Univision Now and all of the vMVPDs.
We conducted 9 different tests, such as whether users could select the quality of files they wanted to download, whether watched videos auto-deleted with a follow-on ability to auto-download subsequent episodes, whether downloads were available only on WiFi to conserve data usage, if downloads auto-restarted if a failure occurred among others.
In the report we detail the testing results for each of the 28 services that offer downloading across all of the 9 different tests. We believe this is the first comprehensive research covering mobile video downloading and is an essential resource for all industry decision-makers.
Longtime VideoNuze readers will remember that over 7 years ago, when TiVo enabled mobile video downloading (albeit in a somewhat clunky way via TiVo Stream device), I wrote that I thought it was a killer app. The ability to have “TV in your pocket” frees users from mobile connectivity issues, data caps and spotty WiFi access. While connectivity has improved and more users now have unlimited data plans, the flexibility downloading offers is stronger than ever.
In addition, the value to video providers is higher than ever. The so-called “streaming wars” that are underway are about far more than just content quality and price. Central to determining winners and losers will be user experience. To remain competitive, video services not only need to keep pace with one another, they need to meet the expectations that users bring from all their web/app experiences. Friction and inconvenience are simply not tolerated, users will take their attention and spending elsewhere. Users have no patience for excuses like rights issues or piracy; they simply expect downloading to be available and work.
Loyalty, customer lifetime value and monetization all now depend in part of downloading. According to our research, although downloading is so far confined to SVOD services, we believe that downloading in ad-supported video will widely follow soon.
The recent launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+, both of which enable downloading, underscore its importance. Disney executives highlighted downloading as a key feature of Disney+ at their pre-release launch conference. The idea of kids using tablets and phones during long trips to watch unlimited Disney content (all for $7 per month) without a connection, is practically too good to be true.
Please download this complimentary inaugural report and let us know your thoughts. Many thanks to Penthera for generously supporting our research.