Long-Form Online Video Content Wins Out Across Platforms

Long-Form Online Video Content Wins Out Across Platforms

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Ooyala (yo!) put out their Global Video Index Report for Q1 2012 and it seems that long-form content is on the up, up and away route to fame and fortune. For content creators, like myself, who are working on generating new long-form content, that’s awesome news. Plus, it means the continued rise of the mid-roll should be an ongoing trend as well. Remember, according to comScore, average video length is now 6.4 minutes and rising.

The Method(ology) to the Madness

I generally won’t start looking at research before I look at the methodology. If you don’t know, it’s because of my math heavy background in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology, and that means I am a hard-core science nerd (sexy right?). As always, the thing I love about Ooyala, aside from the cool people and the pretty graphics, is their outright level-headedness about it all.

The data sample used in this report covers the first quarter of 2012, from January 1 through March 31. All data was taken from an anonymous cross-section of Ooyala’s  global customer and partner database—an array of broadcasters, studios, cable operators, print publications, online media companies and consumer brands. These firms broadcast video to over 130 different countries from more than 6,000 unique domains. Nearly 200 million unique viewers watch an Ooyala-powered video every month.

This data sample is not intended to represent the entire Internet, or all online video viewers.

However, with 200 million unique viewers, it’s a good cross section when you consider it’s 130 countries. But we’ll keep the article within the scope of their disclaimer.

Ooyala’s video analytics module tracks a range of standard variables, such as:

  • Displays, plays and time watched
  • Viewer engagement and video completion rates
  • Sharing by social network
  • Geography (region, state, city, Designated Marketing Areas)
  • Device type (mobile, desktop, tablet, connected TV devices & game consoles)
  • Operating system (Windows, Android, iOS)
  • Browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer)

Screen size vs. Video Length

There have been several reports of late that have broken it down by device, etc. but it rarely breaks down what type of content is being viewed. Ooyala looked at things a couple ways including below where you can see that long-form crushed it on connected devices (connected TVs, game consoles). Oddly, I do watch some Hulu Plus on my Xbox 360, but so much content can’t be streamed because of licensing, that I would rather just use Hulu Desktop which I have hooked into my Windows Media Center app.

Still, looking at the big bar on laptop which, unlike the big brain on Brad, shows that long-form is the most popular form on the platform. Boom shakka lakka! Heck, it’s almost 50/50 on tablets and even mobile is seeing some pretty good long-form consumption.

I’m one of those “long form is 10 minutes or more” types because 5 minutes is super short in my book. I just watched all of Ctrl and thought “damn these are short!” even if they were quite well done.

If one were to think longer than 5 minutes is long-form, well then it’s at or above 50% across all screens. But really, long-form = mid-roll to me and 5 minutes with a mid-roll would be annoying, so 10 minutes it is for me.

There was a massive rise in long-form consumption on the connected TV/game console front they say, 57% to 88% Q4 2011 to Q1 2012. I’m sure that was because game consoles started offering loads of apps to do just that and connected TVs began shipping en masse. Still, an extremely impressive quarter on that platform.

What Ooyala says:

Ooyala’s data suggests that viewers aren’t changing the kind of content they consume; they are instead choosing to watch traditional TV and movie content on their new connected screens.

Video Length Casts Longer Shadow

Along with all that long-form consumption rising on devices comes news that people are simply sitting down and watching for a longer time per play. I’m not sure what they mean by a play, perhaps the loading of a video player? The push of the play button? I don’t know, but I could fire up a playlist and sit down for an hour or three personally.

One of the major factors for that upswing on the tablet viewing is the new iPad.

Following Apple’s March release of the iPad 3, the amount of video watched on tablets jumped 26%. iPads presently account for 95% of tablet video viewing, according to Ooyala’s data.

That seems an inordinate proportion of iPad viewing in Ooyala’s numbers. I don’t really know what to make of it. I’ll have to talk to Ooyala and see if we can get some further break down of that segment for another article here. Of course, there is that disclaimer that it’s just their data, not for the industry or the whole world.

Another interesting quirk is that laptop peak at the end of February. What happened then? Well, the Academy Awards, The Walking Dead was heating up, and the Daytona 500 was delayed to Monday for the first time ever. I suppose some of that could account for that odd peak, people sneaking peeks at Academy Awards or catching up on Nascar at work.

Connecting the Dots of Video Viewing

Aside from the computer screens, the connected TV and game console platform saw some dramatic growth, as I said. That growth went from just 6.5 minutes per play to almost 13. Again, with connected TV purchasing on the rise (the feature topped 3D on consumer wish lists) and the game consoles suddenly unleashing a torrential downpour of video-based apps, it’s no surprise.

However, something I don’t like about a lot of it, is the closed nature, the proprietary nature of the platforms. Try to get an app published on Xbox and you’ll think the iTunes App Store is a cakewalk. The same goes for the Playstation Network. Connected TVs might be easier as the platform makers, like LG and Samsung are eager to have their hardware bought and platforms adopted. They were all offering lots of support back at CES this year and I expect those areas to be the big expansion moving forward. I also see Android as the major upcoming player in the connected TV growth.

It’s a wonderful time to be a long-form online video creator and publisher, isn’t it?


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