Is That A Big Screen In Your Pocket?

Or are you just happy to view my content?

Twenty-odd years ago, at a corporate job far far away, we'd 'borrow' the big-screen TV from the meeting room over long weekends and Thanksgiving breaks.  Remember the scene in Animal House where Belushi & co are sneaking in to the dean's office?  That was us - but burdened with a monstrous 32" CRT going out, instead of a horse going in.

The movie-watchers appetite for pixels was strong even then, but we had to lug about 60 pounds of glass to get about 1/4 the pixels you've got in your pocket.  (Actually, that beast was interleaved - look it up - so it was even worse than the bottom-right corner of your smartphone.)

Ooyala just released their Q4 Video Index, with the lead-line "Mobile Video Looks Better Than Ever." Here are the stat-snacks.

  • Mobile video plays jumped 15% IN DECEMBER ALONE
  • 34% of all video plays in Q4 were on tablets and smartphones. 38% in December.
  • Tablet and smartphone video plays grew 2X (200%, Doubled, Twice As Much, etc) in the past year.  5X since 2012.  16X since 2011.
  • Tablet users go long - 70% watched video >10 minutes. (Netflix I'm looking at YOU...)

PCs lead all devices in the number of ad impressions.  Funny, I don't remember seeing any ads on my monitor. Oh, wait, but you paid for those? Bummer.

"Consumers engage in “content mining” on all devices. They search for that next piece of content to watch, preview content they’ve discovered and, of course, view selected content of all lengths."


Ooyala's market is "long-form" video publishers. The report "reflects that anonymized online video metrics of the vast majority of Ooyala's 500+ customers...collective audience...220 million viewers."  You paid us, thanks for the data. There are a ton of additional factlets about advertising and even more view-time comparisons.

Meanwhile, for those of us NOT in the long-form video business...

That mobile-viewing share is a mighty steep ramp, and if anything it looks like it's going up even faster.  The balance between those individual views (smartphones), tablet views (couples, at most) and the lean-back big screens will keep shifting. Do you think they'll eventually stabilize?

Those happy innocent days of 'borrowing' the big screen and watching 3-4 movies in a day aren't just a distant blurry memory because of NTSC.  Rather, it was the lack of interruption that's startling in retrospect.  I'm sure people still engage in uber-long-form video viewing, but while they're watching the big screen together, they're watching their mobile screens individually as well.  (My boys and I have watched LOTR in a day at least twice, but we're putting a donation basket for smartphones at the door next time because, really, texting during Helm's Deep?!)

Fascinating stuff.