Desktops Lag in Online Video Viewer Engagement

November 16, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Mobile Phone | Technology | Television

ooyala-viewer-engagement.jpgFor each desktop viewer who completed watching an online video in Q3, more than 2 viewers did the same while watching on a tablet, according to [download page] an Ooyala report released in November 2011. Data from the “VideoMind Video Index Report,” which measured a cross-section of Ooyala’s customer and partner database, indicates that across all plays, the video completion rate was highest for tablets, with mobile devices slightly ahead of connected TV devices and game consoles. Desktop viewers were relatively less engaged than all other device types.

Desktops Mostly Used for Short-Form

Desktops or laptops were far more likely to be used to watch short clips: videos shorter than 3 minutes accounted for 52% of the hours of content viewed on desktops, ahead of mobile (42%), tablets (29%), and connected TV devices and game consoles (6%). By contrast, videos 10 minutes or longer accounted for 75% of the hours watched on connected TV devices and game consoles, 42% on tablets, and 30% on mobiles, with desktops bringing up the rear.

Mobile Beats Desktop, but Tablet Rules

Viewer engagement for videos 10 minutes longer was higher for mobile users than desktop viewers: 20% of mobile viewers completed three-quarters of these videos, compared to 18% for desktop viewers. That pattern continued overall: mobile viewers were on average more likely to watch one-quarter or three-quarters of a video of any length.

Even though mobile viewers were highly engaged, even they could not outperform tablet viewers. According to the report, video completion rates for tablets were consistently more than double the completion rates for desktops and around 30% higher than for mobile devices.

Weekdays Preferred Viewing Time

In general, viewers tended to watch more online video on weekdays, particularly desktop viewers, who did so regardless of industry vertical examined. One significant exception was online media: publishers in this vertical recorded higher-than-average viewing times during the weekend on mobile devices, tablets, and connected TV devices and game consoles. The report notes that the online media vertical includes companies that were explicitly founded as Web-based companies and publish video primarily online.

Other Findings

  • Average conversion rates (the ratio of plays to displays) were best for connected TV devices and game consoles, followed by desktops and mobiles, with tablets performing least well in this category. According to survey results released in October by Pew Research and The Economist Group, activities such as browsing the web (67%), sending and receiving email (54%), using social networks (39%), gaming (30%), and reading books (17%) are all more popular activities for tablet owners than watching movies and videos (13%).
  • Generally speaking, Facebook proved to be a more popular means of sharing video than Twitter globally – but the margin depended significantly on region. For example, while in Japan there was approximately a 1:1 ratio between Facebook and Twitter sharing, in Italy, sharing on Facebook was 17 times more popular than on Twitter. Within the US, the report indicates the ratio to be roughly 8:1. According to Nielsen, Facebook grew its US online video viewership by 23% in September, from 25.3 million to 31.2 million unique viewers.

About the Data: The data sample used in Ooyala’s report covers the third quarter of 2011, from July 1 through September 30. The data was taken from an anonymous cross-section of Ooyala’s customer and partner database in over 30 different countries. Collectively, the customers’ video streams are watched in 100 countries across more than 5,000 unique domains, and by more than 100 million unique viewers every month. The data sample is not intended to represent the entire Internet or all online video viewers.

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