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Mobile video worldwide - statistics & facts

With fast mobile internet and the development of 5G infrastructure becoming the norm worldwide, video consumption was always expected to take place increasingly on mobile in the future. However, the impact of 2020’s coronavirus pandemic accelerated this trend, propelling the increase in mobile usage worldwide even while sheltering at home. Between October 2020 and March 2021, global users spent approximately 14 minutes interacting with entertainment apps daily while social media and gaming still dominated users’ interactions with their smartphones. In 2021, the photo and video category accounted for approximately 25.4 percent of the time spent on apps, up from 24 during the previous year.

Big screens vs. small screens: VOD consumption on mobile

While 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 last quarter of 2021, 76 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 40 percent of their viewing time on mobile, and 27 percent on big screens.

Despite the fascination with big screens, smartphones were the most used devices to watch online video-on-demand content during the second quarter of 2022, with a 36 percent usage share. Televisions accounted for a 34 percent usage share, while PC only for 11 percent. In terms of audience engagement, set-top boxes (STB) and TVs were the preferred devices for users during the first half of 2022, as a daily average of 106 minutes were spent watching on-demand video content via set-top box devices as well as 89 minutes daily on TVs. By comparison, VOD consumption on smartphones occupied global users for less than 30 minutes per day.

Social apps, but make it 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 video and video-sharing are not new functionalities available to internet users, the rise of TikTok’s popularity in recent years has compelled traditional social media to adopt a more dynamic, highly social video format optimized for mobile usage. Instagram, which introduced Reels in August 2020, has been struggling to persuade users after the platform shifted its content focus from images and photos to video. As of July 2022, images were the most popular type of content posted on Instagram, while Reels represented approximately 22 percent of all content on the platform, despite presenting a higher reach and likes count than any other type of content.>br>

Social video monetization practices

After 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, Disney, YouTube, and TikTok were among the most highly valued entertainment and media brands worldwide in 2021. 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 percent of Google’s revenues in 2021. 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.


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