With the proliferation of mobile devices and anytime, anywhere access to video content, the idea of settling in on the couch to watch a TV show is almost quaint. The entertainment landscape is at a crossroads: the viewing experience is evolving as mobile video consumption becomes increasingly ubiquitous. Here are the factors driving this evolution of mobile video.
Advances in mobile technology, data processing, and connectivity have made mobile video viewing more fluid and accessible. These developments will massively increase the time and data we spend viewing mobile videos, dwarfing the data consumption of other mobile applications in the next few years. Between 2014 and 2019, mobile video traffic is expected to increase at a compounded annual growth rate of 66%.
What we watch is impacted by what device we have at hand. For example, the growing engagement on YouTube’s mobile app demonstrates this rapid shift to mobile video. Over half of its audience now comes from mobile, and while more people watch on phones, they watch longer on tablets.
As viewers spend more time on phones and other mobile devices, viewing habits will shift to accommodate these new platforms. Perhaps most significantly, the tradition of horizontal viewing—originally dictated by the design of the earliest moving picture screens—will be turned on its head by the ascent of vertical devices. Vertical screen orientation now comprises 29% of consumers’ video viewing time in the US, compared to 5% five years ago.
These platforms will also drive up multi-screen viewing habits. A significant percentage of TV watchers now experience video simultaneously on multiple devices. This behavior is especially true for frequent long-form video viewers, who report engaging in dual-screen activity 33% of the time. Content creators are recognizing the value in this dual-screen mentality, and are more frequently offering mobile experiences—such as social interaction with fans or opportunities to drive a show’s action by voting—that are designed to be enjoyed in tandem with watching the show on TV.
In an acknowledgment of the new vertical viewing paradigm, video creators will start to produce material that’s optimized for vertical, with particular emphasis on apps and platforms that were born mobile. With a huge range of mobile outlets available to these producers, opportunities to release innovative material will be open to DIY mavericks and professional teams alike.
In this new entertainment era, production companies geared towards digital content and mobile viewing are thriving, with more attention from audiences, investors, and talent alike. For example, Disney has acquired short-form video production company Maker Studios, and AT&T has partnered with The Chernin Group to invest more than $500 million in Otter Media, a mobile-first content producer targeting a connected audience. With the total market value for multi-channel network companies now estimated to exceed $20 billion, the mobile video industry shows no sign of slowing down.
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This article was produced on behalf of AT&T by the Quartz marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff.