Mobile video's once-explosive growth is ebbing, comScore says

Mobile phone
Use of media on tablets actually declined in 2016.

While the average U.S. consumer still spent 2 hours and 51 minutes per day using mobile media at the end of 2016, the explosive growth of mobile media usage is now ebbing, according to comScore.

“While mobile now dominates digital media usage, consumption is beginning to stabilize and the days of huge growth are over,” the research company said in its "Cross-Platform Future in Focus 2017" report. “Digital media audiences are in the latter stages of a multi-year boom. Consumer usage trends always shift faster than dollars, but now is the time for the economics to catch-up with behavior. This will be enabled by better measurement, improved industry standards and less friction in running mobile ad campaign,” the report said.

Use of media on tablets, for example, actually declined in 2016.

“The U.S. smartphone market is nearing saturation and the tablet market has flattened,” the report said. “Advances in device technology are now growing incrementally rather than by leaps and bounds.”

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As mobile platforms mature, digital viewing in the living room is increasing.

“Desktop and mobile media usage are converging with traditional TV and OTT, as consumers watch their favorite content through any number of devices, including smart TVs, streaming boxes and gaming consoles,” the report said, adding that the cross-platform era will be defined by a media-agnostic view of the consumer and comparable metrics to facilitate efficient media planning, buying and selling.

Meanwhile, observing other consumption trends, comScore found that:

  • Live TV still accounts for a surprising 84% of all viewing, with DVRs accounting for 14.9% of usage. 
  • Video on demand only amounts to 1.1% of overall consumption. 
  • In primetime, live viewing accounts for 74.7% of consumption, with DVR usage accounting for 24.6% and VOD 0.8%. 
  • Around 90% of sports content is viewed live, with that level dropping to 71% for live TV dramas.