Nearly a Quarter of Americans Watch Video on Mobile Phones

January 9, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Asia-Pacific | Europe & Middle East | Media & Entertainment | Television | Videogames

Consumers in the US watch more TV and mobile video than those in Germany, Sweden and urban China, and while most still watch video on a PC, nearly a quarter (23%) watch video on a mobile device, according to results from the first phase of Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Pulse survey.


The study, which assesses worldwide consumer video behaviors and attitudes, is conducted by the Center for the Digital Future at the USC Annenberg School for Communication on behalf of Cisco. The first phase highlights consumer video consumption and attitudes about video in the United States, urban China, Germany, and Sweden.

Key survey findings:

  • Among the countries studied, US consumers watch the most TV: The US average is 3.8 hours per day, while Germans watched 2.9 hours, Swedes watched 2.1 hours; and urban Chinese watched 1.8 hours.
    Urban China has the largest percent of users who watch online video via their PCs, at 97%, with the US following at 81%.
  • The US has the largest percentage of users watching video on a mobile phone, at 23%.
  • US respondents who watch video on their mobile phone spend an average of 36 minutes per day doing so. They report watching video most for entertainment, information and education:


  • 85% of German respondents are interested in viewing internet video on their TV sets, compared with 55% of Swedes, 54% of Americans, and 35% of urban Chinese.
  • US respondents watch 2.5 times as much professional video content (TV programs and movies) as they do user-generated video content on their PC or laptop. German respondents watch twice as much user-generated video on their PC or laptop as they do professional video content.
  • On average, American respondents who use a PC or laptop to view video spend 1.5 hours per day doing so. They are well ahead of the Swedes (who spend 0.7 hours per day), equal to the Germans (1.5 hours per day) and slightly below the Chinese (1.9 hours per day).

“People around the world of all demographics are using networked video as a communications medium to connect with the people and the content they care about most,” said Ken Wirt, VP of consumer marketing for Cisco. “Whether they are seeking entertainment, information, education or communications, people are using video to meet their needs. With medianet-enabled networks as the platform for these consumer video experiences, service providers can enable the highest-quality visual networking experiences possible.”

“Video is being added to more and more applications and showing up in more and more locations,” said Jeff Cole, director, Center for the Digital Future, USC Annenberg School for Communication. “We see a common thread that people are using video to remove global boundaries, build intimate relationships faster, and have collaborative interactions across distances.”

Cisco is sponsoring research for an additional eight countries, which will be released later in 2009. Cisco’s ongoing analysis of the aggregate data generated by its new personal bandwidth calculator application will contribute to a broader understanding of evolving consumer networking trends.

About the research: Cisco? VNI Pulse activities provide qualitative views of network-based consumer video-usage patterns and trends through direct data collection. For this initial phase of the Pulse survey, more than 1,000 consumers from each of the four target countries completed online or telephone questionnaires about their video usage during the month of November 2008. Respondents were asked to answer questions about their level of access to media technology, the devices they use for viewing video, the amount of time they spend watching video on different devices, and the reasons they watch video content.

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