Can the OTT Industry Handle the Influx of Smartphone Viewers

Benedicte Guichard | Mon Sep 28 2015 | Industry insights

Online video viewing on smartphones Credits:

As mentioned in On Demand Video is Putting the Muscle on TV, people’s viewing habits are changing. Traditional television, although still somewhat treasured, is in decline as VoD is becoming more popular by the day. This shift in content consumption is positive news for the OTT industry and its providers; however, in order to keep up with the times, a fresh approach must be taken at all times.

Online video viewing patterns has been seriously affected by the penetration of mobile phones.  According to Statista, nowadays 30% of the UK population watches video on their smartphones and in 5 years, the share should reach the 40% mark. 

UK video viewers on mobile -Statista Share of the population viewing online video via smartphones in the UK (2014-2019)

In addition to this, there is a significant increase of watching TV on smartphones and paying for online video content on OTT services like Netflix.

So what does this mean for VoD and the OTT industry? Well, it means it needs to adjust to fit in with the viewing habits of the general public and offer water-tight innovations to stay one step ahead of the game. But can OTT handle this shift into the mobile world?

The short answer is yes, but it does come with its obstacles:

  • Relying on WiFi and roaming services like 3G or 4G can cause fluctuations in streaming speed;
  • Video quality may be compromised due to content not being correctly adjusting to mobile screen size;
  • User experience and service offerings can be quite limited on mobile devices.

In order to overcome these issues, many OTT operators have started to take their mobile content strategy a lot more seriously. Once considered a secondary-screen strategy, optimising content for mobile devices has become more of a priority in the recent times; due it’s ever-growing popularity as a viable viewing platform, operators, and vendors, have been forced to take this issue more seriously.

For instance, IBC has talked about an introduction of a cloud based service in order to stretch a quality user experience across all platforms, including mobile in order to meet the needs of their users. Not only will this seriously improve UX, it will also expand their scope as providers and improve their interface vastly.

We all know that people can’t live without smartphones in this day and age. Once a clunky brick-like device with the sole purpose of making calls, sending texts and playing Snake, mobile phones are now compact supercomputers, personal organisers and a primary source of pocket-sized entertainment.

In 2015, people want what they want and they want it delivered yesterday, which is why mobile is the perfect medium for today’s society. With this movement to mobile, the OTT industry will face its fair share of challenges, but these are not impossible challenges. Make your mobile content sing to your audience and you will reap long lasting benefits (at least until holographic viewing is invented, or something equally futuristic).


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