Sally O’Dowd has written numerous articles for the Social Media Week blog since 2011, reporting from Cannes, Paris and New York. This article, originally published here,  is about Ooyala research on the way people watch video content on various devices.


Instead of hooking up with loads of girls, today’s guys should aim for street cred by over-indulging on something else, says a team of writers at GQ.

That thing would be TV.

“Telling people ‘I hooked up with thirteen women this weekend’ makes you sound like a creep,” according to GQ’s June article, Stop Flipping! The new rules of TV. The writers go on to say how much quality content there is on the networks and cable channels these days. “It’s almost an act of valor, however, to stumble out of your apartment after a weekend-long TV binge, all squinty and pale, jabbering about a season’s worth of white-trash smackdowns on Justified.”

GQ is just the latest publication (usually it’s the media and marketing trades) to write about the content revolution. The way we watch practically everything is changing.

The overall share of time watched on smartphones grew by 41% from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012 and the share of time watched on tablets grew by 32% during the same period, according to a new report published by Silicon Valley-based Ooyala, which uses proprietary technology to help media companies and advertisers reach people watching content on portable devices.

In the month following the March launch of the iPad 3, the amount of video watched on tablets jumped 26%. Clearly, what Apple does matters:  Of all content watched on portable, Internet-connected devices, 95% is watched on iPads, Ooyala says. (Click here for a column on how to watch traditional TV shows on the iPad by the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg.)

People are also watching more long-form content (10 minutes or longer) on the iPad and other devices. In Q1, 40% of the content watched on mobile phones and tablets was at least 10 minutes long, up from 29% for mobiles and 36% for tablets in Q4 2011.

“Things are changing rapidly in this space,” said Matt Pasienski, Ooyala’s chief data scientist.  “We see substantial shifts in viewing behavior every quarter.”

Indeed, Ooyala’s Global Video Index report for Q1 2012, the latest figures available, states 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.”


For publishers and advertisers, this phenomenon is providing new ways to reach consumers.

The rate of advertising on portable devices is much lower than on television sets, and viewers’ habits on the latest devices means they would likely support more advertising, Matt said.  He noted that people do not typically spend as much time watching content on desk tops as on tablets, which provide “lean-back” experiences. On the couch, people also sink into the content.  Not in a hurry to go anywhere, viewers are likely to accept more interruptions in the form of advertising.

Consider this: For every 42 minutes of a TV show, there are 18 minutes of commercials. Yet viewing content on other devices is relatively uninterrupted, say one video ad when visiting a given video site.

As such, Ooyala says there is untapped digital potential for advertisers, who might want to consider more pre-roll ads that run before the start of a show or movie and more mid-roll ads that run in the middle. Ads should also encourage sharing so that the content goes viral.

“A lot of online media publishers are not sure what the correct ad loads is,” said Matt, who has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “They worry that showing too many ads will discourage viewers from engaging with their content. But when you look at the numbers, you see that, in reality, lots of media companies are under-monetizing their videos.”

Because online ads can be targeted to a particular zip code or IP address, the online space won’t need the volume of mass consumer ads that we see on broadcast TV. “We can serve up ads in real time, to a single person,” Matt said. This means that ads will be more effective for brands from a marketing and sales point of view and more enjoyable and meaningful for the people who are watching.

Whether you’re an advertiser or Californication binger, or both, this affects you. Referring to the GQ article, Matt said: “That’s a national men’s magazine, not an industry tech blog. TV has changed to a mobile, multi-screen experience – and people are comfortable with that.”

via Ooyala

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