September 08, 2014

BuzzCity Research: Mobile Video on the Rise

By Hisham Isa, Vice President (Marketing)
  • Do you watch videos on your phone?
  • How often?
  • What do you like to watch?
These are among the questions that BuzzCity posed to some 5000 mobile users across 25 countries.

While we knew that video consumption is on the rise, the strength of the results surprised even us.

More than three-quarters of respondents told us that they use their phone to watch video. More than half watch at least a few times a week; 27% said they watch mobile videos every day.

Images on the right are from advertisements by StarHub (Singapore)
and Sony Mobile (South Africa). The statistics are from BuzzCity research.
Mobile pundits and analysts frequently advise advertisers and content creators to keep their videos short. And while it's true about a quarter of mobile surfers prefer to watch clips and short videos, a higher percentage (29%) prefer longer-form content like television series and movies.

In this survey, we didn't ask users how long they stay online to watch videos, but eMarketer estimates the average is about 55 minutes per day.

Better infrastructure accounts for much of the growth. Carriers in all twenty-five of the countries that we surveyed, from Argentina to Venezuela, offer 3G or 4G connectivity.

In the UK, for example, within the space of one year, the number of active 4G mobile subscribers jumped nearly 19-fold from 318,000 in the first quarter of 2013 to over 6 million in March 2014.

In fact, 23 of the 25 countries surveyed have 4G. Only Kenya and Vietnam do not, but Kenya is expected to start building a 4G network next year. Vietnam has said it might auction 4G licenses in 2015.

(Are you wondering about the difference between 3rd Generation and 4th Generation systems? There's no single clear cut metric. 3G can offer faster data transfer, but 4G is generally better for video streaming. Here's a good, brief comparison.)

Infrastructure is not the only factor behind the rise of mobile video. Carriers are offering better rates. Independent video sharing sites are running major membership drives. Smartphones have bigger screens and faster processors. Social media sites like Instagram, that started with photos, have expanded to include video.

Noticing the trend, some advertisers have started shifting resources. My colleague Manish described the case of Honda, which is pulling money from its TV budget to crate a music-streaming channel, in an earlier blog post. That channel - Honda Stage - is now online.

Just as photos defined an earlier generation of mobile usage, on-demand anytime anywhere video is quickly becoming part of the fabric of our lives.

More about Mobile Video 
  1. Mobile video on LTE surpasses 3G
  2. Mobile video ad spend will reach $1.5B by the end of the year
  3. ESPN, Hulu mobile video demand continues to increase
Read more about mobile video in BuzzCity's upcoming September report!