Ooyala just dropped some new research via their Global Video Index which used data from July 1st through September 30th and used an anonymous cross-section of Ooyala customers and partner databases which is stated as being, “an array of broadcasters, studios, cable operators, print publications,
online media and consumer brand companies in over 30 different countries. Collectively, our customers’ video streams are watched in 100 countries across more than 5,000 unique domains, and more than 100 million unique viewers watch an Ooyala-powered video every month.” So, it sounds like a pretty good cross-section and they state that this is more about them and theirs and not the whole Internet video viewership.

So now that all the fine print is done, let’s get to it!

Screen Size Matters!

Just like the size of  your carbon footprint matters, so too does the screen that your video is being viewed on. But the size of the screen is almost inversely proportional to the amount of video viewing time and completion rates. How odd no? The tablet was said to have a 30% higher viewing time and completion rates around double desktops.

It makes sense to me though. First off, I almost always have something else open and in progress on my desktop, unless I’m settled in to catching up on stuff via Hulu. So I often have many things that prove distracting and pull me away from video.

Meanwhile, on a tablet, usually the video takes up the whole screen and multitasking is more difficult. So that means the viewer is more focused on the video content itself than they might be on other platforms. Even TV leaves wiggle room to do other things (as evidenced by the new round of second screen apps that are coming out aimed at social interaction during TV watching).

On the tablet, because the screen is relatively small in regards to other major video viewing displays, to really see what’s going on in a video one needs to play the video in full screen mode thereby effectively blocking out other distractions on the screen.

So, that means people are more engaged in the video. On top of that, you’re usually in an application specific to watching video, so when you go to do so on a tablet, that’s really the goal. Many people, I believe, watch TV simply to pass time away in between work and sleep. I also believe that many of us who watch video on our desktops do so to avoid doing something else, like work so we often have something else that our attention should be focused on.

On tablets we use them in specific places for specific purposes of which the major one seems to be, watching videos when not at work or at home. Voila! Increased engagement and completion rate. I also think that videos on mobile phones is a similar phenomenon ans that is why it is second in viewer engagement in the report with set-top boxes very close to it (because what else is there to do with set-top boxes for the most part?).

No, none of that was in the Ooyala report. That was all my own analysis of the situation.

Their report includes things like:

  • Over 60% of tablet viewers averaged 1/4 of their videos completed
  • Almost 50% of tablet viewers averaged 3/4 of videos completed
  • For each minute of video content on desktops, tablets snatched 1:17 of video content.
  • Mobile completion rates are roughly 30% lower than tablets (probably because of their higher conversion rates, see below)

The Flip Side of the Tablet

On the other side of the tablet, is conversion rate which is far lower than any other screen in the Ooyala report (Desktop, Mobile and Set-top box) and comes in at below 20%, almost half of mobile and desktop and less than a third of set-top boxes.

Set-top boxes saw a massive conversion rate (play/display) of 60% while tablets the lowest. That also makes sense. On a set-top box, your main goal, usually, is to watch a video. Sure, some now have games and other things on them, but they started mostly as being ways to get Internet video content on your TV.

Desktops, mobiles and tablets are more multi-use devices and so there are a variety of factors I think that affect all of these things.

Length Also Matters!

Aside from screen size, it seems that content length also plays an intrinsic role in all of these statistics. Here’s what Ooyala’s research found:

Q3 data suggests that viewers are turning to their tablets, mobile devices and especially their connected TV devices and game consoles to watch medium- and long-form videos. Desktops or laptops are far more likely to be used to watch short clips. Videos shorter than three minutes, for instance, accounted for more than half (52 percent) of the hours of content viewed on desktops. That same measure is 42 percent for mobile devices, 29 percent for tablets and just 6 percent for connected TV devices and game consoles.

So in a nutshell it seems that people try to squeeze in some short-form (which is sub 5 minutes in length) when on their computers but are more dedicated to viewing content on their mobiles and tablets. Again, I think that’s because of where we watch and what we’re doing.

The game console thing is totally logical. Much of the video content we get on those devices is from Hulu, Netflix, NFL and NHL, etc. It’s all long-form video any way you slice it really. Now Ooyala throws in this medium-form content. Here’s how I break it down.

  • Short-form < 5 minutes (mostly user-generated and some original online series)
  • Medium-form = 5-20 minutes (mostly original online series)
  • Long-form = 20 minutes or longer (mostly film and TV episodes with the shortest TV episode usually 22 minutes)

It’s a very logical break down looking at today’s online video landscape the way I see it. Most YouTube stuff that’s user-generated is under 5 minutes, same goes for pretty much every other video sharing site. But if you’re in the industry and doing it professionally you’re usually ranging in the 10-15 minute area which is what a lot of online web series seem to be doing right now. Then you’ve got the full length TV episodes and feature films which are definitely looong form. However, Ooyala disagrees.

Ooyala tells me that this is how they see it:

  • short-form video is < 3 min
  • medium form video 4-9
  • long form being 10+ min

It all seems a bit arbitrary to me, but it’s their report.

From their report, just over 50% of total time of videos watched on desktops are 3 minutes or shorter, while conversely, 75% of videos on set-top boxes are longer than 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, tablets have maybe 40% of their video viewing down on content that is 10 minutes or longer and almost 50% of the content is 6 minutes or shorter

Mobile sees maybe 60-65% of its content in the 6 minutes or shorter category and just round 30% longer than 10 minutes.

There’s a whole lot of other information in the Ooyala Global Video Index, but I’ll save it for another day. In terms of content length, this article has reached long-form (1000+ words), so I’ll end it here.