Mobile Devices Lead Online Video Views, Adobe Says

Sports videos are contributing to huge growth in online video consumption, with smartphone growing fastest when it comes to premium video views, according to Adobe’s Digital Video Index for Q4 2013.

Sports viewing increased 640 percent year-over-year, compared to 440 percent growth in all streamed video content. One quarter of all sports content is now viewed on mobile devices, according to Adobe, which based its report on aggregated and anonymous data from more than 600 media and entertainment sites, 22.5 billion online video starts, half a billion video starts from mobile devices, and 574 million TV Everywhere streams.

“You often hear that cellphones are too small to watch TV on, but it’s not true,” says Campbell Foster, Adobe’s director of product marketing for video solutions. While snackable TV like sports highlights may be driving this trend, Adobe also has found that live viewing of major events is also on the increase. Noting that Super Bowl 2014 was available for live streaming on mobile, Foster adds, “I think it’s due to the perishability of the content. You can watch Walking Dead a week later, and it hasn’t lost any of its impact. If you watch game six of the World Series a week later, you know who won, so what’s the point?”

Smartphones overtook tablets in early Q1 2013 in terms of share of video streams delivered, and consumption was up 86 percent year-over-year. Tablets are growing slower than smartphones, but tablet consumption grew 23 percent year-over-year. Gaming consoles, particularly Xbox One and the PS4, became the fastest-growing video consumption devices, growing 365 percent year-over-year.

In terms of operating systems, Apple devices still account for close to 50 percent of all video consumption, but Android devices have taken share, especially in TV Everywhere viewing, which more than doubled since the same time last year. “I think it’s Android tablets,” Foster says. “They were a nonfactor two years ago, but they’re catching up.”

Adobe also notes a rise in media consumption for Google Glass. Web browsing on the wearable device grew 735 percent since August 2013, and more than half of that time was spent on media and entertainment content. But Adobe doesn’t have information on how many Glass devices are in the wild, so it’s difficult to understand how meaningful this growth in consumption is.

Adobe also announced that it will power digital video distribution of the NBC Olympics in Sochi, Russia. In partnership with Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, Adobe Primetime will deliver video content plus targeted advertising to desktops and mobile devices, including the Comcast X1 Platform. NBC subscribers will be able to view all competitions, highlights, and other content live and on-demand on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports Live Extra App.

Adobe Primetime has the technical capacity to dynamically replace broadcast and on-demand ads with ads targeted via consumer information in NBC’s databases and tailored for various devices. NBC is responsible for selling and targeting all advertising via its own ad server. Primetime will stitch the ad into the stream dynamically.

Foster says, “Dynamic ad insertion is something broadcasters have been talking about for two or three years. For the first time, we’re seeing broadcast being dynamically replaced across all devices.”

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