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Video on mobile devices and other smartphone trends

Martin Scott Principal Analyst, Research

This video offers insights into video consumption trends, shifting consumer usage and behaviours across devices, and the changing attitudes and preferences of mobile device users. 

Video interview 

Martin Scott, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason and Lead Analyst for the Video Strategies programme, shares our latest research and survey results, highlighting mobile device data trends and usage.


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Video transcript

I'd like to talk briefly about the results of some of our recent research into consumer smartphone usage and how people watch video on their mobile devices.

Really they consume it in bite-sized chunks as you might expect. The average viewing session for YouTube is 6.8 minutes. For an American pay-TV service like DirectTV it's 7 minutes.

But then if you look at the UK multi-screen services it's over 10 minutes (10.1) and Netflix dominates with the highest engagement rate of any video app at 10.2 minutes per session.

What's driving this difference in the way people consume video?

It depends partly on the types of content being consumed.

YouTube is clearly geared toward short form whereasmulti-screen services tend to be inclined towards longer form content, by which I mean say 20 minute episodes or a full feature film.

It is also partly down to the types of devices on which these different things are consumed.

If you look at tablet consumption versus smartphone consumption, we will see a strong favour for multi-screen services on tablets relative to smartphones.

Video consumption isn't just about video services and apps. Social media is a really significant contribute to overall video consumption on smartphone devices.

Smartphone survey shows social media is driving data traffic

We've conducted this research several times over the years and in our last set of research from 2013, social media accounted for 11 percent of all time that people spend on their smartphones and 11 percent of all data traffic.

If we fast forward to our 2016 data, social media usage has gone up to 16 percent of all time but 28 percent of all data traffic.

So the ratio is gone from 1:1 between time and traffic to 2:1.

This extra bumper traffic we believed is all down to the integration of video content within social media networks and in particular Facebook.

Does video consumption stimulate mobile data use?

Yes absolutely. Social media is a key part of that. But operator tariffs that integrate free consumption of certain types of video or the integration of certain value-added services that are video based is really stimulating mobile video consumption. 26 percent of all users in a panel strongly favoured consuming video on cellular networks versus over Wi-Fi.

The role of subscription video-on-demand services such as Netflix is obviously also significant part of this and penetration is increased hence its impact on the cellular network has also increased.

The real stand-out apps that we really should be paying the most attention to are, as you might expect, YouTube, but what you might not expect is that 78 percent of all smartphone users in our study, irrespective of age or geography, were using YouTube and that's a really high number.

Netflix is important from the point of view of engagement. As I said the average session duration was over 10 minutes per instance of using the app.

And the UK multi-screen services are also worth paying attention to because they have particularly high engagement levels.

Other things not covered in the research but which I think are important includes the use of NPVR services.

NPVR functionality which is where you can mark an upcoming video to be recorded online and saved onto your network PVR is now an integral part of propositions in North America and also in France through services such as Molotov.

I think we're going to see a lot more of that in the next few years and that's going to become a significant factor in operator mobile video propositions as well.