LTE usage correlates to mobile video surge
Michelle Clancy
| 03 September 2014
In research that bears out the conventional wisdom that better broadband will lead to more digital video consumption, it turns out that mobile subscribers on LTE networks are 1.5 times more likely to watch video than subscribers on 3G networks.

According to the Citrix Mobile Analytics report for the second half of 2014, LTE-surfing subscribers are also viewing video longer ̶ 76% of Netflix viewers watch for more than five minutes when viewing over LTE, but only 65% do so when watching over 3G.

"Providing network operators with insight into the types and volumes of content mobile subscribers are consuming helps them to identify trends in subscriber behaviour and to adjust their networks accordingly," said Mark Davis, senior director of product marketing for service provider platforms at Citrix. "The mobile data experience continues to be a key contributor to subscriber satisfaction or lack thereof. Knowledge about how the network is being used combined with the tools to enhance the mobile data experience are fundamental to establishing a differentiated data service."

The report also found that social networking is the most popular mobile application category, with 40% of mobile subscribers engaging daily. In fact, 47% of social networking data can be attributed to video, and 40% to images.

"Our big data analysis shows that the most popular way to use our mobile devices is to support our interests in social networking," said David. "As 40% of mobile subscribers engage in social media, mobile operators have the opportunity to create compelling social networking based tariffs. At the same time, since the worldwide average of mobile social networking traffic from video is 48%, operators need to be cognizant of the network impact of this content and proactively manage the user experience."

Taking a regional view, North American and the Middle Eastern subscribers have the highest video consumption on social networks with video data volume constituting 59% and 62% of total volume, respectively. Meanwhile, video consumption accounts for 39% of European mobile social networking data usage, with APAC following closely behind at 35%.

With eyeballs come ads of course, and the survey found that on any given day, half of mobile data subscribers are served ads over the mobile network and the mix of ad types is changing rapidly. The latest report finds that there has been a 20% increase in mobile video ads since the beginning of 2014, as brands are increasingly using this medium to make their pitch rather than with traditional banner ads.

Last year, Citrix found that one video ad was served for every 20 banner ads served over mobile. This year, the ratio has increased to one video ad for every 16 banner ads served.

"LTE clearly drives increased demand for mobile video," Davis said. "Each request results in longer viewing times than 3G as demand shifts from more short-form content such as that hosted by YouTube, to longer form content such as that hosted by Netflix."