Classic TV shows get vertical treatment on streaming service Dreams
- Dreams, a mobile video streaming startup that launched in May, today is adding episodes of "X-Files," "NYPD Blue" and the 1960s version of "Batman" to its line-up. The service will add more episodes of the shows every week in a vertical video format intended for mobile viewing, per Variety.
- Previously, Dreams streamed unscripted shows from channels such as Animal Planet, HGTV, Food Network and Discovery Channel, in addition to live news from Bloomberg, with no archive of past shows. Greg Hochmuth, co-founder of Dreams, said viewers tune in to the service for 24 minutes a day on average.
- The Dreams app lets viewers flip through channels with new shows every day. The shows start playing when a mobile user lands on the channel, and pause automatically when a viewer changes the channel.
The launch of Dreams is another sign of how smartphones have affected the consumption of video content. Vertical smartphone screens present new challenges for advertisers and video producers seeking to reach audiences that are shifting their viewing habits to mobile devices. Holding a smartphone sideways to watch videos in a traditional movie or TV format isn't ergonomic for many people, especially if they are trying to watch shows while commuting on public transit or standing in line, and only have one hand free.
Social networking apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have helped the adoption of vertical video among consumers. About four out of five (79%) viewers of vertical video prefer the format over horizontal content, according to a study by TV data analysis platform YuMe. Its survey found that 65% of those viewers described brands using vertical video as "more innovative," indicating the importance of the format for advertisers. The optimal length for videos on Facebook is between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, according to researcher BuzzSumo and social media management firm Buffer.
As another indication of the growing importance of vertical video, Netflix this year added vertical video previews for movies and TV series to its app. The video streaming giant, which has more than 130 million subscribers worldwide, shows trailers in a slideshow-like format that can be swiped to the next selection or tapped to watch immediately. Long-form viewing on mobile devices has become more popular as people upgrade to bigger screen "phablets," large smartphones that are nearly tablet-sized. Nearly half (47%) of mobile video viewing time is spent on clips shorter than 20 minutes, per data from video platform Ooyala. In addition, 39% of viewing time consists of clips five minutes or shorter.