The rapid rise of smartphone and tablet penetration across the globe is providing a considerable driver to the uptake of online video according to a report by ZenithOptimedia.
Published in conjunction with Newcast, ZenithOptimedia Group's global branded content network, the Online Video Forecasts report found that the average amount of time people will spend consuming online video each day will increase by 23.3% in 2015 and by a further 19.8% in 2016. The changes in consumer behaviour driven by the smartphone and tablet uptake are clear from the finding that mobile video consumption on devices is forecast to grow by 43.9% in 2015 and 34.8% in 2016. At the same time, video consumption on non-mobile devices will continue to grow, though at more moderate rates, increasing by 9.5% in 2015 and 6.5% in 2016.
The survey found that in 2012 mobile devices accounted for 22.9% of time spend watching online video worldwide; by 2014, this proportion had risen to 40.1%, and the company predicts it to reach 52.7% in 2016 and 58.1% in 2017.
Given these dynamics, ZenithOptimedia expects mobile to become the main platform for viewing online video by 2016 and predicts that the number of people regularly watching traditional, linear TV will peak this year, and will start to decline for the first time in 2016.
ZenithOptimedia regards the decline of linear TV viewing is in direct correlation with the increasing quantity and quality of content available online, both from short-form platforms like YouTube and long-form platforms like Netflix. It forecasts that the number of regular online video viewers will increase by 5.8% in 2015, 5.1% in 2016 and 5.3% in 2017.
"Consumers all around the world are rapidly embracing online video, because it offers them a near limitless array of engrossing content," commented Newcast global managing director Mark Waugh. "Some of the keenest users are the young, affluent viewers who are hardest to reach on television. Brands are finding online video a particularly effective way to reach these valuable audiences, not just with advertising, but also with branded content; content that can inform or entertain consumers in a deeper and richer way than is possible with short, interruptive ads."
The survey also noted that online video's share of global digital ad-spend is rising rapidly: it was 8.8% in 2012 and 10.2% in 2014; the survey projects that it will increase to 12.8% by 2017, an eighth of all Internet ad-spend. Online video was found to be the fastest-growing category of Internet advertising: ZenithOptimedia forecasts it to grow by 28.9% to $16.1 billion worldwide by the end of 2015, followed by 22.5% growth in 2016 and 19.7% growth in 2017, when it will total $23.7 billion.