Strategy Analytics: larger screens key to driving mobile video usage

Larger screen phones, better video quality and 4G networks are the three most important factors for driving greater consumption of video content on mobile phones, according to Strategy Analytics.

The study – conducted across the US, China, France, Germany, Spain and the UK – revealed that 42% of mobile phone owners report larger screens would make them watch more video on their mobiles. Better quality video (35%) and having a 4G network (29%) are the next biggest drivers.

Currently, almost three-quarters (72%) of consumers watch video on their mobile phone, however, only 44% do so at least once a week. Less than 1 in 7 (15%) watch mobile video on a daily basis. The Chinese are the heaviest users, 59% watch mobile video every week, compared to 40% of Americans.

Mobile video penetration may be approaching its peak; only 8% of mobile owners that didn’t currently watch video on their phone indicated a desire or intent to do so in the future.

Among mobile video users, 40% report watching less than 30 minutes per week, 22% between 30-60 minutes and 21% between 1-3 hours, while 14% watch over 3 hours a week – the equivalent of a full movie and more.

“Turbo-boosting mobile video use is primarily about improving the viewing experience ahead of cost issues,” says Nitesh Patel, Director of Wireless Media Strategies at Strategy Analytics. “Although free, ad-supported videos and bundling premium video into the current tariff were also cited as factors, operators need to focus on improving the regularity and length of viewing to get consumers onto higher tier data plans.”

Browsers twice as popular as apps for mobile video

Seven in 10 mobile video viewers report streaming video content through their mobile browser compared to 35% from apps. Over in 1 in 5 (22%) watch a video they’ve transferred to their phone from another device – known as “side-loading.”

Mobile video consumption is almost three times more likely to be done via WiFi (68%) than via a mobile network (24%). The share of streaming over 3G/4G was highest in France (33%) and the USA (30%).

YouTube and Google are most preferred mobile video providers
Among current and intending mobile video users, 64% rated YouTube as their preferred supplier of mobile video, followed by Google (49%), their mobile phone manufacturer (27%), Apple (26%), Amazon and their operator (both 22%).

David Kerr, Senior Vice President, Global Wireless & Digital Consumer Practice concludes: “Although existing internet brands, such as YouTube, are the most preferred suppliers of video content, a significant share also ranked their phone brand and mobile operator favorably too. Consequently, providers of video content must continue to see handset vendors and operators as key partners in the effort to drive mobile video consumption.

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