Insights from the Ooyala Global Video Index

Ooyala is one of the top three online video platforms (OVP) and releases a quarterly “video index” that “measures the anonymized viewing habits of viewers in 239 countries and territories, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, around the world,” and reports on those findings. You can download the document at the Ooyala website here. This quarter’s (Q1 2014) report heads with a familiar quotation for those of us who remember the ’70s, “I’m going home, and when I want to go home, I’m going mobile,” which, of course, is from the Who’s Peter Townshend.

As the report introduction states, “viewers increasingly turn to mobile devices to view video of all forms, at all times of day, even at home. These days, mobile viewing isn’t just about watching outside the home, it’s about freedom of choice within the home.” What I found interesting was the types of videos that viewers were watching on different types of devices, and how viewing time differed between VOD and live content.

Mobile and Tablets Do NOT Predominate

We all know how rumors start and propagate. Someone claims, “mobile viewing is skyrocketing,” that gets repeated 40 times, and soon turns into “more people are watching on mobile devices than OTT and computers.” Ooyala puts that one to rest with the following graph showing the startling rise of mobile viewing, though only to about 21.5% of all video plays.

ovi1.png

I’m not saying mobile isn’t important; I’m saying make sure the desktop picture is in order first, then concentrate on mobile.

Which mobile? The report indicates that iOS still grabs 64% of worldwide smartphone views, with different penetration rates in the various regions, including 60% in North America. Note that numbers are dramatically different in Europe, so if that’s your predominant region, download the report.

On the subject of (ahem) other platforms, the report states, “While the smartphone discussion may sound incomplete without mention of other platforms such as Blackberry and Windows 8, it’s worth noting that these platforms represent a small minority of global smartphone shipments today, and a statistically insignificant percentage of video consumption among Ooyala’s footprint.” Take that! Microsoft. If you’ve been wondering about the need to support Windows 8 devices, it appears that you can put this off, at least until the next report comes out.

Live or Dead

The most surprising statistic from the report was how much longer viewers watch live events than VOD as shown on the following graph, including an average of over 11 times longer desktops and connected TVs.

ovi2.png

There are a lot of ways to spin this data, of course. On the desktop, we’ve all tuned into webinars that we kinda watched in a continuous partial attention kind of way (I work out on my Bowflex during most webinars that I watch). In addition, though live content might enjoy a longer initial viewing span, it lives much longer in VOD form so actual VOD views likely predominate. On connected TVs, let’s face it, most of us aren’t producing House of Cards or similar Netflix-quality content we can, in any way, equate with Ooyala’s CTV numbers.

Anyway you spin it, however, if you really want to grab and hold your audience’s attention, a live event like a webinar or similar presentation gives you the best shot, at least on desktops. From Ooyala’s numbers, it appears that most viewers of such content prefer the desktop to tablet and smartphone. Once again, though we all tend to obsess over mobile viewers, the bulk of the longest lasting viewers are in their familiar home, the desktop.

Those are my strongest impressions from the Ooyala report. To use an old metaphor, the report is like the proverbial elephant; what you see will depend upon where you touch it (and where it touches you). Download it here and touch it yourself.

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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