Big screens win consumers over small screensWhile social platforms have been redirecting their users toward a mobile-first experience and integrating video features into their apps, big screens are the preferred way for audiences to consume entertainment in streaming. During the second quarter of 2022, over 70 percent of the global streaming viewing time took place on big screens, while only 11 percent was on mobile. However, several regional differences play a role in the choice of preferred viewing device, with mobile-first markets in Asia reporting 42 percent of their viewing time on mobile, and 43 percent on big screens.
Despite attracting approximately 44 percent of global viewers in 2021, the 2022 video landscape saw a decrease in audiences engaging with smartphones to consume their favorite video-on-demand (VOD) content. In 2022, smartphones were used by 37 percent of the global audience to watch VOD content, while TV viewership rose to 33 percent, up by six percentage points from 2021. In terms of audience engagement, set-top boxes (STB) and TVs were the preferred devices for users in both 2021 and 2022, as a daily average of 102 minutes were spent watching on-demand video content via set-top box devices as well as 88 minutes daily on TVs in the last examined year. By comparison, VOD consumption on smartphones occupied global users for less than 30 minutes per day.
Social video shows no sign of popularity lossWhen it comes to social media, users have once again reaffirmed their preference or video. Between 2020 and 2021, user-generated short videos have become the norm for well-established social media platforms: mobile-first Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and Video Pins from Pinterest launched worldwide, while Reddit integrated short in-app videos after acquiring Dubsmash. While photo app BeReal enjoyed a brief moment under the limelight in mid-2022, the French-developed platform generated less than 100 million downloads between 2020 and April 2023. In comparison, Chinese-developed sensation TikTok racked up over 2.7 billion global downloads during the same period. In addition, Meta-powered Instagram – strengthened by the launch of in-app video feature Instagram Reels in August 2020 – saw approximately two billion downloads between the beginning of 2020 and mid-2023.
YouTube’s in-app video section Shorts has also been benefitting from the short-video format popularity. Launched first in the Indian market in September 2020, YouTube Shorts quickly attracted Indian users’ attention on the wake of the country’s TikTok ban in June 2020. In July 2023, YouTube Shorts counted two billion monthly active users, up from the 1.5 billion MAU recorded in June of the previous year. Despite the appearance of new short-form video platforms, as of December 2022, 75 percent of ad buyers in the United States reported using TikTok, while YouTube Shorts was used by less than 50 percent of the surveyed marketers.
Social video monetization practicesAfter the global market developments of 2020, it does not come as a surprise that the protagonists of video-first social networks and on-demand video platforms Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok were among the most valuable entertainment and media brands worldwide in 2022. Video content creator communities also benefited from the app skyrocketing in popularity. While it is not yet possible to open a TikTok store (which is possible on TikTok’s twin video app for the Chinese market Douyin), eligible creators on YouTube have been allowed to sell their merchandise directly on YouTube in the past years.
Overall, YouTube revenues are mostly generated via advertising and accounted for roughly 11.35 percent of Google’s revenues in 2022. As of 2021, YouTube creators can receive direct cash tips from their viewers through a platform feature called Super Thanks. Other direct-to-creator payment options include Super Chat, Super Stickers, and channel subscriptions, which allow creators to directly benefit from audiences they have built.