Ooyala: Smartphone, tablet OTT viewing jumps 114% since last year

Americans are more in love with their mobile devices than ever, when it comes to over-the-top watching. Online video viewing on smartphones and tablets more than doubled between the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2014, to 114 percent, with views from both types of devices making up 30 percent of all video plays in the third quarter.

That's according to Ooyala's third-quarter Global Video Index, which summarizes its measurement of the viewing habits of consumers worldwide. The anonymized metrics are collected from Ooyala's video publishers, which include broadcasters like Univision, ESPN and Sky Sports, networks like Comedy Central and Pac-12 Networks, and other companies that have an online video presence.

With mobile devices making up more than 50 percent of YouTube's views, "mobile and tablet growth is now accelerating more rapidly and universally than even six months ago," the report noted.

Sports is a major force behind the upward trend in mobile viewing, the report said, citing a Kantar Media study that found that 42 percent of consumers in the U.S. use mobile devices--slightly more on smartphones than on tablets--to watch sports.

The report also breaks down user behavior by the amount of time spent watching content on specific devices. Connected TV still rules the long-form world, with 80 percent of its sessions lasting 10 minutes or more--that's 9 percent growth from the same period a year ago. But close behind are tablet viewers, whose time watching long-form video increased to 68 percent--and whose viewing of very long videos of 30 to 60 minutes grew faster than any other device, to 23 percent.

Ooyala Q3 video index

Mobile and tablet plays grew 20 percent quarter over quarter. (Source: Ooyala Q3 Global Video Index)

Views of short clips, averaging 1 to 3 minutes, are more prevalent on mobile phones at 22 percent. "Viewers often use their phones to sample content, watch previews, check scores and highlights, or quickly catch up with the news before switching to larger screens," the report said.

"What's really exciting is the pace at which many of the most prominent players in the industry are now innovating and meeting their audiences where they are--with the content they want most, on the right screen, at the right time, with an incredibly rich experience," said Ooyala CEO Jay Fulcher in a press release.

Ooyala video index 2014

Share of time watched, by device. (Source: Ooyala Q3 Global Video Index)

The report contrasts somewhat with an October study by Parks Associates that found that smartphones are by far the most prevalent connected device in broadband-enabled homes in the U.S., with smart TVs the fourth most common, behind tablets and game consoles. However, it noted that broadband homes contain, on average, seven connected devices--making video delivery a complicated dance for TV Everywhere and OTT providers alike.

For more:
- see the press release
- download the report

Related articles:
Streaming devices proliferate in fiber broadband homes, study says
Video becoming an 'essential skill' for employees, Kaltura says
Cuban: Streaming video doesn't threaten cable TV
Nielsen: Traditional TV viewing slides as online streaming views go up