Ooyala put out their Global Video Index for Q1 2012 a while back but I've been mulling over some content in it and looking at some ways to apply it to the industry. One thing that caught my eye was the viewing curves based on time and day for devices and that led me to think about when to publish new content. I share some thoughts on all that right here with the Reel Loyalists.
In blog publishing it's pretty much a daily thing, depending on the blog. In the news industry it's more like, as fast as you can get the story out to remain timely. But in online video, things are a bit different, depending on what the content is that you're creating. We know that sticking to a set schedule is helpful to build an audience as viewers know when to check in to get that next episode. But with the Ooyala Global Video Index, we have some insights into exactly when to publish and that can be tied to which particular device is most commonly used to view your online video content. Now, Ooyala says that their findings really only apply to their network, but it's still a good starting point for an online video content publishing schedule.
Right, so let's look at some stats and draw some conclusions, shall we?
On the right you'll see the Ooyala graph that talked about length of online video content by device across the four screens; desktop/laptop, mobile, tablet and connected TV (including game consoles). All four categories are consuming a good amount of long-form content.
By far, that last category favors the longest content while mobile favors the shortest content. Tablets and computers seem to have fallen in the middle watching close to 50/50 in regards to short-form and long-form content. I draw the line at 10 minutes for long vs. short because at 10 minute video length, I won't mind a mid-roll personally. Plus, if you look at the comScore average video length in the last Video Metrix, it's around 6.4 minutes.
Clearly, if you've got long form content greater than ten minutes in length you're going to want to be keeping an eye on the connected TV category, but if you've got a lot of very short clips, under three minutes, you might be more interested in when people watch on mobile or even tablets.
Tablet and PC Online Video Publishing Schedule
If I'm seeing a lot of computers being used to check out my online video content I'm going to be looking at publishing on a weekday early morning which then sees the highest viewing times with each hour containing around 6% of total viewing time. You could also aim for a weekend release schedule as well between 8am and 11am, each hour of which sees 7-8% of total viewing time. So clearly, publishing in the mornings is going to get that video content in front of viewers right when they're ready to do a good portion of their overall viewing.
For Tablets, things are a bit different. Tablet viewing peaks in primetime both weekdays and weekends. However, there's also a good bump around 8am on weekdays, most likely due to commuters firing up video when on mass transit or ride shares.
The worst time of the day to be publishing new content is between midnight and 6am when viewing per hour drops as low as 1% roughly.
Summary of when to publish for PC and tablet viewers:
- Weekdays early in the morning 6-8am to get the morning commuter bump for tablets and the major portion of viewing for computers.
- Weekends early to mid-morning to catch the peak of PC viewing and the steady morning viewing of tablets.
- Any day at 5pm for tablet peak viewing hours between 7pm and midnight when it becomes the main screen and PC viewing drops off.
Mobile Online Video Publishing Schedule
Now that we've got a good idea of when to publish with audiences mainly consisting of PC or tablet viewers we turn our attention to mobile.
Mobile is an entirely different monster altogether, mainly because the viewing trends remain fairly stead in weekday vs weekend. Mobile viewing also has a massive dip in consumption between midnight and 5am and then starts climbing rapidly and, aside from a small after-lunch dip, continues to climb until that midnight drop off. This means, if you're seeing a mostly mobile audience for your content, you should be publishing your new content around 5am pretty much any day of the week. That way it's there and ready to be discovered when the mobile viewers are up and at 'em. You might also see some success with publishing new online video content for mobile consumption in the early afternoon as there's a two-hour lull before things really pick up and reach 6 to 7.5% total viewing per hour, with weekdays lagging a little behind weekends.
Summary of when to publish for a mostly mobile audience:
- Pretty much any day at 5am.
- Pretty much any day at 1-2pm.
You might even combine those two into an alternating schedule of sorts with quick clips being published both in the morning and early afternoon to get a double bump.
Connected TV (and devices) Online Video Publishing Schedule
Finally, we come to the rapidly rising category of connected TVs. Whether the TVs themselves connect to the Internet or they are connected through a game console, Blu-Ray player or other device, they're all included in this one and they absolutely love long-form content which makes up almost 90% of all of their viewing.
The connected TV graph is a bit more complex with several highs and lows. Again, as with all other devices, midnight to 5am sees the smallest amount of viewing. Oddly, that's about when I do a lot of my viewing some days. Starting around 7am, the connected TV audience is consuming about 4.5% of their total time per hour with weekdays generally trailing weekends. It's probably because many are at work or out of the home on weekdays. The trend peaks near 5% around noon and then drops off and slowly starts to climb until 'prime time online' as Ooyala called it which stretches from 4pm and runs clear through to midnight. They stop at 11 but that last hour 11pm-12am averages more consumption than the hour before it almost 6.75% overall. The peak hours of that block are the 8 and 9pm hours on weekends and the 9pm hour on weekdays.
Of course, publishing within that block also means you've probably got a lot of competition from even longer-form content like TV episodes being caught up on via Hulu and films from Netflix. Remember, this is the category that plows through long form content with ease, so you can bet that anything under 10 minutes isn't going to get more than a cursory nod in its direction from this crowd.
Summary of when to publish online video content for connected TVs:
- Weekend mornings around 5-6am to get the brief morning rush (cartoons anyone?).
- Weekdays at 6am to ready for the 7 o'clock rush.
- Any day between 1-3pm, especially weekends, to hit 'prime time online' which sees massive upswing starting at 4pm.
A Multi-Screen Online Video Publishing Schedule
If you have some longer-form content, say around 25 minutes or more, you can utilize a multi-screen approach to marketing that content. While it's most likely that it will be viewed on a PC or connected TV, it's possible that it will be viewed on mobile or tablets. However, if you bolster that longer-form content with some one to three minute clips and publish them during the course of the day throughout the week, you might make it more likely that those users will return to watch the longer-form content, or turn on another device to tune in.
Say I have a new web series which is looking to be 15-20 minutes per episode (which I might actually be working on). I now know that it's most likely going to be watched on either a PC or a connected TV but could have a good shot at being viewed on tablets. So how do I draw in as many viewers as I can?
I know that I should probably publish the main content at 3pm on perhaps Thursday or Friday since connected TV viewing is much higher on weekends during the 'prime time online' block. But what do I do the rest of the week to build up and remind everyone that the new content is coming?
5am - Put out a "this week's episode" short clip with a brief bit from the last episode (to reach mobile, tablet and PC viewers).
5am - Put out a quick interview with one of the cast or crew talking about this week's upcoming episode (again, aimed at screens outside of the connected TV category) or other tangential content.
5am - Put out a highlight reel tying last week's episode to this week's episode and prompting those who didn't catch the last episode to do so before the new episode publishes.
3pm - An "urgent" call to watch last week's episode prior to the new episode publishes (include a key clip from last week and a key hint at what's going to take place this week).
6am - Publish your new episode (to possibly hit the early morning viewers that day but have it definitely ready for the evening rush and still fresh for the weekend).
10am - Perhaps push out a quick video or newsletter to your subscribers reminding them that the new episode is available.
3pm - Put out a teaser about what will happen in the next episode (with a reminder that the new episode published and is available now).
5am - A brief interview or catch up clip for viewers to watch with a reminder that the new episodes publish Thursday or Friday (also reminds them to watch this week's if they haven't). Should hit across all screens though less likely to be viewed on connected TV or PC viewers.
Of course, every show and every publisher has different ideas on when and how to publish and market. Mine is just a simple suggested timeline if I were publishing a long-form web series. With the daily video clips you can attract some views across the platforms and hopefully entice viewers to at least check out the show. This article really just talks about when to publish. Where to publish is a completely different animal altogether. Also remember, Ooyala states that their numbers really only apply to their network but, as I said, it's a good place to start and once you've got an idea of what screens are being used for your content you could then start tweaking the model to optimize for results. So get out there and make something cool (then drop me a line and I'll check it out).
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