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Mobile devices drive online video viewing toward 20 per cent rise

Tyrone Stewart

Online video viewing will rise 20 per cent in 2017, as smartphone and tablet viewing drives lift with 35 per cent increase compared to 2016.

According to Publicis-owned ROI agency Zenith Media, mobile devices will see increased average viewing figures of 28.8 minutes a day, while desktops, laptops and smart TVs will only see a two per cent rise to 18.6 minutes a day.  

Woman with phone in handZenith predicts that viewing on fixed devices has now peaked, despite a continued rise in viewing on smart TVs, as consumers shift their attention to mobile. It forecasts that viewing on fixed devices will shrink one per cent next year and two per cent in 2019. Meanwhile, mobile viewing is expected to grow 25 per cent in 2018 and 29 per cent in 2019 – with mobile devices accounting for 72 per cent of all online video viewing, up from 61 per cent this year.

The rise in video consumption is leading rapid increases in video ad spend. Zenith expects global expenditure on online video advertising to grow 23 per cent to $27.2bn this year, up from $22.2bn in 2016. This ad spend figure is forecasted to hit $38.7bn in 2019, which will mean it accounting for 31 per cent of total digital display ad expenditure.

“Online video is one of the fastest-growing channels of advertising, triggering heavy demand from brands for high-quality content,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting and director of global intelligence at Zenith. “Video platforms that can capture the attention of the most consumers with the best content will reap the highest rewards.”

Despite mobile’s dominance in video viewership, most ad expenditure goes to fixed devices. Zenith estimates fixed video ad spend to reach $15.2bn this year, compared to mobile video spend of $12bn. This is all expected to change in 2018, however, when mobile video ad spend reaches $18bn to overtake video ad spend’s $15bn.

“Online video gives brands the opportunity to use powerful digital technologies to engage with consumers as individuals, not demographics, in the sort of high-engagement environment that makes television advertising so effective for brand-building,” said Vittorio Bonori, global brand president for Zenith. “Television and online video and television work well together as complements, the former offering reach and shared experiences, and the latter offering targeting and personalisation.”