Social recommendations tops for mobile video discovery

American mobile video watchers are almost twice as likely to watch videos shared by friends as they are via web search, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of web TV content sharing site Telly.

The study – conducted online in April among over 2,000 US adults – reveals that 78 million American mobile device owners (35 per cent) watch video on their mobile device. Of these 78 million, 52 million mobile video watchers (67 per cent) discover content from friends via social recommendations, versus 32 million American mobile video watchers (41 per cent) who find videos on their mobile devices via search engines.

Of the 52 million mobile video watchers who rely on social recommendations to discover video, many cited multiple ways in which they are finding videos from people they know. 35 million say they discover videos from connections on social networks, while 28 million Americans site that they discover videos from email sent from friends and family, and 23 million find content to watch from texts/MMS.

According to the survey, his echoes a major shift, from search to social, in the way consumers discover and consume digital video content on their mobile devices verses desktop, which is also reflected in Adobe’s April 2013 study. Social recommendations are so powerful that one in 10 people who watch videos on their mobile device, or 12 million, say the only thing holding them back from watching more video on mobile is that they will only watch videos sent to them by friends. All of these findings indicate that consumers want a more social way to easily discover video on mobile. Telly’s findings support Adobe’s April 2013 study that stated, “social engagement jumped from 42 per cent to 70 per cent in terms of how likely referrals on networks like Facebook were to prompt a video viewing completion.” Telly’s inference is that social influence plays a strong role in video viewership on mobile.

“We’re experiencing a new dawn in digital video. Mobile users are looking for an easy, low effort way to quickly find great content while on the go. Social recommendations are a natural fit to quickly guide consumers to great content, especially in a mobile environment where it’s difficult to search,” said Telly CEO Mo Al Adham. “We believe this means there’s an enormous opportunity to create easier discovery technologies and services for mobile video.”

When it comes to OS, the study shows that Android users are much more likely to consume mobile video than iOS users. Of mobile video watchers, 36 per cent are on iOS, 46 per cent are on Android, 12 per cent on Windows and 3 per cent on Blackberry. In recent studies, this separation was much more dramatic. The results of Harris’s study show a significantly higher percentage of mobile video watchers on Android when compared to a February 2013 report released by Ooyala that stated iOS accounted for 67 per cent of individuals watching video on mobile devices, while Android made up the remaining 33 per cent.

79 per cent of American mobile video watchers 18 and over say there are certain things holding them back from consuming more video on their mobile device. Remarkably, 4.8 million Americans don’t know how to find other good videos on their mobile, which prevents them from watching more. Cell phone connections and data costs are also a major hurdle for video consumption. 20.4 million American adults would watch more mobile video if they weren’t worried about seeing a spike in their bill from excess data consumption. Another 20.4 million Americans would watch more mobile video if their connection were faster. However, according to this Cisco February 2013 study, mobile connection speeds are doubling year over year in the USA.

Another pertinent finding according to Telly is that households with children, 107 million (48 per cent), are more likely to watch mobile videos than households without children, 67 million (30 per cent). Of mobile video watchers, 37 per cent live in the South, 21 per cent in the Midwest, 20 per cent in the West and 22 per cent in the Northeast. Mobile video is also more popular with younger demographics; the study found that US adults ages 18-44 are three times as likely to be a mobile video watcher than those over 45.

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