Adobe has put out the Q4 2013 Video Benchmark report and there is, as always, a lot to talk about. In this piece I pulled out the mobile video data because I think that is going to be the major trend this year and so is some of the most important information from the report. I mean smartphone video viewing alone grew 86% year-to-year and passed tablet viewing last year.

As always, it is nice to get an idea of where the data came from and how it was gathered to better understand the results. According to Adobe, “this report is based on consumer video viewing in 2012 and 2013. It is comprised of the aggregated and anonymous data from media and entertainment sites.”

Sample information includes:

  • 22.5 billion-plus online video starts
  • 500 million-plus video starts from mobile devices
  • 574 million-plus TV Everywhere video streams

Mobile Video on The Rise

The chart that follows is a bit hard to read. Those are 7.2% and 12.8% for smartphones, 7.3% and 9.2% for tablets. Together the two total 22% of video starts for Q4 2013. Total that is 66% growth year-to-year.

adobe moblie video viewing

According to the report the growth is because of TV Everywhere authenticated content. I think it’s just the increased availability of better phones, more tablets in the market and the larger catalog of premium content, including TV Everywhere.

The explosion of TV Everywhere authenticated content, integration of video into social channels, and increase of mobile video viewing has created a unique opportunity to reach new viewers who can’t be found on traditional TV channels. Understanding the metrics and trends behind this growth will help advertisers and publishers stay on the cutting edge of online video development and delivery.

Game consoles were the big winner in this area over all. They showed an amazing 365% increase in video viewing. Then again, there was not a lot of video viewing to be done in Q4 2012 on game consoles. That was the early stage of them becoming home entertainment instead of just video game-centric machines. With the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Microsoft and Sony have really gone all out to make sure that the consoles are viable video viewing platforms. In fact, I regularly use my Xbox 360 for HBO Go now.

Authenticated TV Content

Since Adobe makes software and technology aimed at authentication, they put a pretty heavy stress on that sort of content in this report. At least they broke out the mobile viewing of TV Everywhere and authenticated content separately.

mobile share of TV everywhere and authenticated views

Not surprisingly, mobile is dominating the share of authenticated streams and has been for a year. I imagine we’ll see some growth in game consoles this year as well with PCs probably leveling out of perhaps even falling. This was the dream of online video for some time, getting into the living room so you didn’t have to cram multiple people around a single computer monitor and it’s certainly becoming a reality. Still, single-person viewing is still doing extremely well as it’s highly likely a lot of the mobile views are single person viewing during commuting, etc.

Zooming out to look at all TV Everywhere content (which means authenticated and not authenticated combined) we see that there is still good growth in smartphone and tablet but there was a large dip in smartphone viewing with tablets being the most often used device now, a complete reversal of the previous year. PCs lost 7% of TV Everywhere views as opposed to 4% of authenticated views. Game consoles did show some good growth overall which, again, is due to the availability of an abundance of video apps on them now.

Warp Speed – Engage!

Engagement is always a vital statistic of online video viewing. Many are curious to see how much of a video people are watching, where they are dropping out and more important, and how many videos they watch. Unfortunately, this is a one-dimensional view of it all and just talks about that last facet.

Interestingly here, the numbers are less favorable for mobile platforms but looking up for the PC year-to-year. iOS saw the biggest drop, but Adobe chose to focus on the tiny drop on the Android platform? Wouldn’t you be more curious what happened to the video viewing on iOS than why Android dropped from 8.2 to 8.13 videos?

It’s even more interesting when you look at the lower chart that talks about how iOS devices are watched so much more. Nothing about the 44% increase for PCs or the 40% drop for iOS overall. In the break out by device we don’t the delta change year-to-year so we don’t know if people are abandoning iPods for iPads or iPhones for iPads or…well, anything.

adobe mobile video engagement

Here’s some interesting stuff now. 28% of all video views they tracked were on iPads and 21% on PC. iPods are really just 5% of all mobile TV Everywhere video views and Roku is broken out to its own category as opposed to something like “set-top boxes” to include the others. adobe mobile video tables

So, iOS accounts for 47% of all mobile TV Everywhere video views. Meanwhile, Android is only getting 13% of the totals. PCs still retain a healthy 21% versus Macs who get just 7%. I wonder when Chromecast will get its own category. You can download the full report here.