Mobile video consumption transitions to longer-form content

Michelle Clancy | 31-10-2013

Interest in watching full-length movies and television shows on mobile phones is growing, according to new research which has revealed that globally, even in areas where fast network speeds are unavailable, there is an uptick in longer-form content, especially among those aged 18 and under.

Vuclip's third quarter 2013 Global Video Insights showed that 65% of more than 50,000 mobile video viewers worldwide say they prefer to watch movies or television episodes over brief music videos or movie clips on their phones. A full (84%) of people say if their favourite television serial were available via mobile, they would watch it on their phone. That number rises to 92% when considering those under 18. This is slightly higher even for movies, with 89% of all global respondents saying they would watch a favourite movie on mobile and 94% of those under 18 saying the same.

"When you see what the under-18 crowd is interested in, that's when you know you have a lens into the future of mobile," said Arun Prakash, COO of Vuclip. "We're seeing an important shift as people become more engaged in viewing full movies and television episodes. And apps offer the best possible user experience for this."

When you slice the results by gender, males show this bias even more, with 67% of men versus 57% of women preferring longer content on their phones. When you view this data by age, 74% of those under 18 share the preference.

There are also significant regional differences. In the United States, consumers searched for videos related to Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and 'pranks'. In India, it was Bollywood hits like Shuddh Desi Romance and Grand Masti (a comedy blockbuster), and India's favourite sport of cricket. Indonesians searched for film star Nikita Mirzani, Auragzeb (another Indian blockbuster) and the Naruto anime TV series.

The top ten results showed that the US audience even more so than audiences from other countries seems obsessed with celebrities; the Indian audience is most likely to search for full movies, while in Indonesia there is interest in a balance of bands, celebrities and movies.

Challenges to mobile uptake beyond video snacking do remain, however. The research showed that consumers have lingering concerns about viewing longer videos on their phones, especially when it comes to cost (32%), buffering (21%) and the inability to find content they are interested in (10%). This remained fairly consistent throughout the world, although in the US, with some all-you-can-consume data plans still in effect (but rapidly disappearing), concern about buffering tops worries about cost.

"Naturally, consumers do have some hesitations about cost and buffering, but through a combination of the penetration of apps and the deployment of network-friendly adaptive bit rate streaming technologies, these issues can be addressed," Prakash said.