Content Goes Mobile

New figures from comScore reveal that consumer consumption of online content is radically changing. The comScore data shows that the number of consumers choosing to view video content on their mobiles has increased by 66 per cent over the past year, while mobile video-on-demand (VOD) viewing grew by 99 per cent.

We at On Demand Group weren’t at all surprised by these figures, as we’ve witnessed first-hand, significant growth in the consumption of mobile and on-demand video. A huge driver for this increase has been the improved experience on mobile devices. The proliferation of smartphones with bigger and improved screens, as well as advanced features like play-pause-resume functionality, have dramatically changed the end-users mobile experience and seen scores turn to their mobile to watch video content.

We know that the types of content consumers watch is changing, but the length of content is changing too. We’ve seen a dramatic move away from consumers viewing short video clips on mobile to watching full length TV programmes, music videos and films on their mobile device. The wider availability of longer-form quality content through the mobile from Hollywood studios such as HBO, Disney and Paramount, has been a catalyst for this increase.

ODG has helped launch Europe’s first premium mobile TV subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service with 3UK; Italy’s first premium mobile TV SVOD service; and S. Africa’s first mobile TV service with Vodacom. A crucial part of these launches was brokering content deals, which ODG can conduct for its operator partners. Most popular content is now available on mobile, and the eco-system, both in terms of content deals and technology, is now much more fully formed.

Modern life
It’s not just changes in mobile technology and the availability of quality long-form content that are affecting this increase in the consumption of mobile content – changes in consumers’ lifestyles are playing their part too. The pace of modern life means that consumers no longer want to be tied to having linear content pushed at them. Consumers now want to watch content whenever and wherever they are, and on differing platforms. Content consumption is changing in parallel with the busy, 24/7, consumer lifestyle. What better meets those needs than the versatility of the mobile device?

This growth of mobile content use, and mobile as a channel generally, also opens up a wealth of opportunities for brands to market themselves. The opportunity on mobile is huge, as it presents a way to reach a mass market audience in a highly targeted and focused fashion, for example, by including branded campaigns and promotions based around certain content and its scheduling. The mobile user can be provided with a promotion that lets them buy an episode of TV series at a discounted rate, as the previous episode they are watching finishes. Campaigns like this can be highly effective, providing a great return on marketing investment, and a real boost to buy rates.

Genuine desire
We now have a situation where there is a genuine desire on the part of consumers for mobile video and on-demand content. The technology exists to provide this content, and there is a wealth of quality content to watch. These elements are creating a revolution in how content is consumed. What we are going to see moving forward is services where consumers are able to watch premium content wherever they are, and on whatever platform they want, switching between, say, the TV, PC and mobile seamlessly.

A good example of this is Virgin Media’s Player, an online and mobile TV player which recently launched on our parent company SeaChange International’s multi-screen technology and managed service infrastructure for video. This allows a user to watch on demand content on their TV, PC or mobile, pause the content, and then resume viewing it on another channel. We at ODG provide the content management services and processing for this service. This isn’t the future – it’s happening now.

Tony Kelly is CEO of On Demand Group