Video Viewing on Mobile Devices Skyrockets

Source: Roku Inc.
In the second quarter of this year 26.6% of more than 38 billion online video views were started on a tablet or smartphone. For the past 12 months that’s an increase of 43%.

The data comes from the latest release of the Adobe Digital Index from Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE). Adobe defines online video as an unauthenticated video and online TV as authenticated TV Everywhere. It’s essentially the difference between watching a video on YouTube (an unauthenticated video) and using HBO Go to watch an episode of your favorite TV show (authenticated online TV Everywhere).

The Adobe Digital Index has turned up lots of interesting data points:

  • Smartphones are more widely used than tablets for online video viewing, with share growth of 59% in compared to the end of the second quarter of 2013
  • Authenticated viewing frequency (authenticated starts per monthly unique visitor) for sports networks increased 31.3%
  • Authenticated viewing frequency on movie channel networks saw a 125% year-over-year increase
  • Authenticated broadcast and cable networks enjoyed a jump of about 81% in viewing frequency
  • Gaming devices and over-the-top boxes saw a jump of 194% in share growth among online TV viewers
  • Android apps realized a 28% annual gain in share of authenticated video starts and now account for 20% of all video authentications
  • Browser access to online TV dropped 41% year-over-year

Google Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android-based devices generated 8.6 authenticated starts per monthly unique visitor in the second quarter of 2014, up from 6.5 a year ago. Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iOS devices generated 8.4 starts per monthly visitor, up from 5.3 a year ago.

While users start watching videos at a higher rate on mobile devices, not many stick with the video all the way to the end. In fact, just 10% of videos viewed on a smartphone are watched to completion compared with 23% on gaming consoles and over-the-top-boxes and 20% on desktop computers. Some 12% of videos are watched to completion on tablets.

There are at least a couple of interpretations of this. First, mobile is quickly becoming a big dog in the world of pay TV. Second, while content providers like CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), owner of HBO, are launching their own mobile apps, they may not be cannibalizing their cable business as much some of us think. And if that’s true, the cable guys might be getting pretty worried about now.

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