- Mobile devices were responsible for 60% of all video views worldwide in Q4 2017 as audiences were more likely to watch programming on a smartphone or tablet than a PC or TV, according to a study by video technology company Ooyala. As more premium sports programming moves online and can be viewed on mobile, this number may top 70% soon.
- Smartphones (55%) topped PCs (36%) in Q4 for the percentage of pre-roll ad impressions shown on broadcaster platforms that distribute TV content online. Smartphone pre-roll impressions were highest on publisher platforms at 69%, which Ooyala defines as including news and media organizations. Broadcasters saw mid-roll impressions on smartphones rise to 28% in Q4 from 16% in Q3, while publishers experienced a jump to 51% from 44% for the same periods.
- Mobile video plays have increased by about 20% in North America over the past two years as more carriers offered unlimited data plans to attract new users and younger consumers use mobile devices as their primary screens. New, high-tech phone models helped smartphones snag an additional 7.2% of video plays in the past year.
Mobile video maintained strong growth in Q4 as consumers gravitated toward phones with bigger screens that made viewing easier and carriers expanded data plans that used to force smartphone users to cap their viewing when away from Wi-Fi. The growing range of content that's available from on-demand services like YouTube, Netflix or Facebook Watch is also encouraging viewers to watch more frequently on smartphones and tablets while on the go.
The push into mobile sports streaming is expected to drive even more video growth worldwide. Verizon used to have exclusive mobile rights to NFL games, but starting this year, in-market NFL games will be available to stream to mobile devices from any carrier using the NFL mobile app, Yahoo Sports or Verizon's streaming service go90. A December 2017 Think with Google survey of U.S. adults between 18 and 54 found that 30% had streamed sports to their mobile phones or tablets. Meanwhile, the search for football highlights increased 90% from a year earlier, with a 60% increase in the amount of time spent watching interviews of sports figures.
Despite pre-roll ads' lack of appeal to consumers, broadcasters' premium content helped keep pre-roll ad completion rates higher than that of publishers. For Q4, pre-roll ad completion rates on connected TVs has stayed flat, while smartphones saw some growth in in the past three quarters. Publishers had lower pre-roll completion rates as consumers were more apt to move away from content that may have been perceived as less valuable than broadcaster content. The willingness to find similar content elsewhere rather than watch pre-rolls is an ongoing issue for publishers, particularly on mobile, Ooyala said.