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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 30, 2013

Forget Cat Videos: Full-Length Mobile Movies and TV Interest Grows

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

While conventional wisdom says that mobile video viewing tends toward the “snackable” short-form variety (cat videos on YouTube (News - Alert), TV clips), there are signs that this is changing. According to a new study, globally, even in areas where fast network speeds are unavailable, there is growing interest in watching full-length movies and television shows on mobile phones. Unsurprisingly, this is even more prevalent when it comes to those aged 18 and under.

Vuclip’s third quarter 2013 Global Video Insights showed that 65 percent of more than 50,000 mobile video viewers worldwide say that they prefer to watch movies or television episodes over brief music videos or movie clips on their phones.

In fact, a notable majority (84 percent) of people say if their favorite television serial were available via mobile, they would watch it on their phone. That number rises to 92 percent when considering those under 18. This is slightly higher even for movies, with 89 percent of all global respondents saying they would watch a favorite movie on mobile and 94 percent of those under 18 saying the same.

When you slice the results by gender, males show this bias even more, with 67 percent of men versus 57 percent of women preferring longer content on their phones. When you view this data by age, 74 percent of those under 18 share the preference.

"When you see what the under-18 crowd is interested in, that's when you know you have a lens into the future of mobile,” said Arun Prakash, COO of Vuclip. “We're seeing an important shift as people become more engaged in viewing full movies and television episodes. And apps offer the best possible user experience for this."

That’s not to say that no challenges remain: consumers do have some concerns about viewing longer videos on their phones. Among the top concerns were cost (32 percent), buffering (21 percent) and the inability to find content they are interested in (10 percent). This remained fairly consistent throughout the world, although in the U.S., with some all-you-can-consume data plans still in effect (but rapidly disappearing), concern about buffering tops worries about cost.

"Naturally, consumers do have some hesitations about cost and buffering, but through a combination of the penetration of apps and the deployment of network-friendly adaptive bit rate streaming technologies, these issues can be addressed,” Prakash said.

The study also showed that, upon search term analysis, the types of content consumers are searching for varies by country. In the United States, consumers searched for videos related to Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and “pranks.” In India, it was Shuddh Desi Romance (a hit Bollywood film), Grand Masti (a comedy blockbuster) and cricket. Indonesian top searches meanwhile were film star Nikita Mirzani, Bollywood action film Auragzeb and the Naruto manga animation series.

The top 10 results showed that the U.S. audience – even more so than audiences from other countries – seems obsessed with celebrities; The India audience is most likely to search for full movies, while in Indonesia there is interest in a balance of bands, celebrities and movies.

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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