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MWC: Rovi study uncovers “new era” of IP-based video

Western appetite for premium video content on mobile devices remains undimmed, with users clamouring for more TV shows and movies than ever before, according to a new study by US firm Rovi announced at Mobile World Congress.

A majority of respondents in Western Europe and the US reported streaming video to their devices at least two to three times per week, with the average viewing session lasting 30 minutes or longer.

Streaming frequency was highest in Italy, Spain, and the US, with 73%, 71%, and 66% of consumers, respectively, streaming video to their tablets two to three times a week or more.

As for content consumption, tablet users in the UK watch the most TV shows (33% of total users), while users in the US and Germany (35% and 30%, respectively) view more movies.

Interestingly, preferences for content type varied depending on the device: mobile phone users across the board were more partial to user-generated content, with anywhere from 31% of users (France) to 47% of users (Italy) saying they watch more user-generated videos than any other type of content.

“The survey results suggest we have clearly entered into a new era of IP-based video services,” said Ray DeRenzo, SVP of Marketing for Rovi, a provider of digital entertainment solutions. “The entertainment landscape is undergoing a tectonic shift as viewers transition from traditional devices to connected mobile platforms.

“That fact alone has pushed consumer electronics manufacturers, service providers, the entertainment industry and other businesses to consider new strategies for attracting and retaining customers. For participants in the mobile ecosystem to find success and deliver high-quality experiences, an important first step is to understand exactly how consumers are interacting with video on their devices today.”

There are also believed to be opportunities to improve and enhance the entertainment experience with new mobile streaming features and functionality as well as greater content access. For example, less than 20% of all mobile users rate the visual quality of their streaming video as excellent.

Moreover, the majority note features such as quick loading and smooth playback as the most important when watching streaming video. In addition, one of the most desired features requested by consumers was the ability to pause video and then resume play later on the same or a different device.

Finally, mobile device users indicated that video ads (played before, during or after a video) are by far the most effective ad format in helping them retain brand or product information and spurring them to take action. However, they are worried about costs related to streaming video.

Approximately half of the respondents say that they limit the amount of video streamed on their mobile phones over cost concerns—and nearly all expressed a belief that they should enjoy free access to TV content on their mobile phones through their cable provider.

Following the UK’s auction of spectrum for 4G mobile services last week, winning bidder Everything Everywhere told IP&TV News that 2013 will be a critical year for mobile operators to address the “mobile video tsunami” before it is too late.

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