As a nation, the U.S. watched, or started to watch, 38.2 billion videos in Q2 2014, that's an increase of 43% year-on-year, and contributes to the massive growth of online video consumption compared to 2013. Not only are online video views up, online TV viewing increased by 388%. Monthly unique views for online TV are up by 146% year-on-year, and by an incredible 85% in the last six months alone.
The downside is that we're not watching videos anywhere near to completion, especially on smartphones and tablets. In its biannual look at the state of the U.S. digital video space, Adobe's "U.S. Digital Video Benchmark Report" indicated that videos viewed via a desktop or laptop were 3x more likely to watch a video at least three-quarters of the way through than those viewed on mobile devices.
Highlights of Adobe's Digital Video Benchmark Report Q2 2014
- Video views via OTT devices and gaming consoles have increased by 194% in the last year.
- Smartphones and tablets account for 26% of all online video viewing.
- Videos watched to 25% completion on a laptop or desktop are 3x more likely to reach 75%
- Mobile devices were responsible for 26.6% of videos starts, up from 18.6% in 2013.
Impressive Growth in Online Video Views (Free-to-access)
Adobe are reporting a new record for the number of total online video starts for Q2 2014. The previous record has been smashed and now stands at 38.2 billion, an increase of 43% compared to the same time-period in 2013.
Drilling down further into the study reveals more impressive metrics for the industry. For instance, the number of total online video starts (which Adobe clarifies as "any browser-based, unauthenticated video start"), saw an increase in growth of 47.3% year-on-year, which Adobe calculates as a 9.4% acceleration in growth over the quarter.
Online video is becoming the norm for accessing news, sport, entertainment, resources, and advice, and any brands that fail to set a strategy for producing authentic and engaging video content will find themselves falling far behind their competitors.
Massive Growth in Online TV Views (Authentication Required)
More viewers than ever are watching online TV in their living rooms via Connected TV's, OTT devices like Chromecast or Roku, or via games consoles. Adobe confirms that the amount of online TV watched per unique visitor is up by nearly 55% YOY across all types of streaming devices.
Why the big jump? The Winter Olympics, March Madness, and the World Cup definitely contributed to the amount of streaming TV that was consumed in Q2, but sporting events aside, the shift from bedroom to living room represents the ubiquity, and accessibility of the devices used by all family members these days.
OTT devices and gaming consoles like the PS4, and Xbox really are becoming the vehicle of choice for watching online TV. Between them, consoles and OTT boxes saw a market share growth of a staggering 194% compared to 2013. By comparison, desktop-based viewing dropped by a significant 41%.
Smartphones Vs Tablets: The Smaller Screen is Winning
One in four viewers are watching online video content via their mobile devices, which represents a market share year-on-year increase of 57%. The mobile device of choice for watching videos is the smartphone, rather than the tablet, with phones enjoying a 59% YOY growth of share.
Smartphone usage accounted for 13.6% of video starts, while tablets accounted for slightly less at 13%. Apple's iOS accounted for more than half of all online TV views on mobile devices.
Brands need to ensure that their websites are built to be responsive on mobile devices, and they also need to ensure that any video content hosted on their own site is mobile-friendly. Video consumption via smartphones and tablets is only going to increase, and brands and their developers need to keep on top of new video technologies so they can be sure that the content they publish performs to its maximum capability on all platforms.
Video Ad Consumption Up By 26% on 2013
Video advertising is also doing extremely well, according to Adobe. It confirmed that viewers watched 2.08 ads per video start, an increase of 25.8% on Q2 2013. Sports content really pushed up the average, with the FIFA World Cup contributing to an increase of 66% in the ratio of video ad starts.
Obviously, the opportunity for more ad engagement around sports content is huge, but with the right type of tracking and measurement via programmatic software, brands can identify other content where the viewer may be more responsive to the products or services being advertised.
Methodology and Adobe's Digital Index Q2 2014 Overview
Adobe's report is based on data from 165 billion online video starts from Q2 2013 to Q2 2014. 253 U.S. and Canadian sites and apps were measured. The full report is neatly packaged in this Adobe PDF. The company has also provided a handy overview of its findings: