Q3 2017 Video Index: Global sports viewing preference starts with mobile

Video plays on mobile devices continue to increase and we’re is forecasting that, by the middle of 2018, more than 60% of all video starts will occur on mobile devices.

The Q3 2017 edition of our Global Video Index (you can download it here) showed the share of smartphone and tablet video plays increased for the 24th consecutive quarter, making up more than 58% of all starts, a record.

Mobile plays make up the majority of starts in every region, with Asia-Pacific showing mobile’s role as most pronounced; more than 64% of all video plays are on mobile devices. EMEA saw mobile video starts top 56%, LatAm topped 57% and North America saw 54% of all plays occurred on mobile devices.

Smartphones, in all regions, dominated tablets in terms of plays.

The report also showed long-form video – video longer than 20 minutes – made up more than half the time watched on every device, including smartphones which once were dominated by short-form video less than five minutes in length.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that mobile devices, across all demographics, have become the device of choice for video consumption. And, with Verizon’s latest deal to stream National Football League games to smartphones over the next five years, it’s obvious the percentage of mobile starts, and of long-form content consumption in the U.S., at least, will continue to rise.

In the latest Video Index, we also examined consumption of online sporting event and found mobile, again, played a major role.

For major sports that have a global audience and globally recognized stars – think everything from professional golf and tennis to La Liga and Premier League Football, Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA – mobile devices saw 58% of video plays, with views on smartphone leading tablets by a roughly 4:1 ratio.

But, where smartphone viewers watched about 44% of an event’s action, tablet users scored 67%, ahead of PCs (66%) and connected TV (61%).

For live online sporting events, mobile and tablet plays made up nearly two-thirds of plays, but engagement was significantly higher on PCs and connected TVs.

Among sporting events that would be considered more niche, even with a global audience, especially those that appealed to a younger demographic, mobile was dominant, with more than 69% of plays on mobile devices and a smartphone:tablet start ratio of 22:1. Tablet users watched about 2.5X as long as did smartphone users, with connected TV users watching about 1.6X as long as tablet viewers.

The bottom line? A solid viewing experience of smartphones is a must for sports content owners looking to reach a wide audience, but the bigger screens remain most useful for engagement.

Still, most sports streamers have yet to take advantage of the technology at hand. Limited use of interactive advertising, real-time sports stats for viewers and social integration – not to mention AR and VR – means streamcasting is still in its infancy. But, while there are some growing pains, sports online has massive potential.

Join me for a webinar at 11 a.m. EST, Tuesday, Dec. 19 for a deeper dive into the Q3 Video Index. You can register here.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn