Desktop Still Dominates Long Form Online Viewing

It is far too soon to write off the desktop as a major online video platform as it still accounts for twice as much viewing as tablets for long form content and four times more than smartphones, according to Adobe’s Digital Index (ADI).

But smartphones and tablets are continuing to gain ground over desktops for shorter form content. As a result the total number of online videos viewed on smartphones in the first quarter of 2015 was up 22% year on year, while the ADI has also found that tablet views per visitor have just overtaken desk top views.

The ADI concluded that online viewing is becoming partitioned across the different platforms as devices become increasingly specialized and that content producers have an opportunity to exploit that. They can produce content for specific platforms rather than online as a whole and there is also scope for creating longer form material more conducive for tablet viewing. To date tablets have underperformed expectations in terms of longer form viewing but the ADI believes the gap with the desktop can be narrowed.

Overall mobile has become a significant part of online video, accounting for almost one in three of all video starts. This is being driven by improving connection speeds through both 4G/LTE and Wi-Fi hot spot roll out, larger smartphone screens and a growing abundance of available content. There is a major implication here for advertisers, according to the ADI, which must diversify their strategies and incorporate a mobile buying solution. They must ensure that ads are targeted differently to mobile and desktop, while perhaps segmenting between smartphone and tablet.

The other significant finding is that Apple’s iPhone has increased its dominance of mobile video viewing, despite only accounting for about 20% of the global smartphone market. According to ADI the iPhone now accounts for over two thirds of online video starts on smartphones, reflecting the large screen size and high video quality of the latest models, as well as content.

Similarly while the iPad has been losing ground with only 26.8% of the global tablet market in Q1 2015 according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker after having had total dominance in its early days, it accounts for over 80% of online video starts on tablets. This reflects the positioning of the iPad as a second screen which some of its lower cost rivals are unfit for.

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