Mobile Video Growing, But Still Niche
comScore, an established authority in online trend tracking, has released a report stating that 6.5 million Americans watched online video on their mobile phones in the month of August 2008. Even though the figure isn't that alarming, it shows continued year-over-year growth of mobile video consumption. comScore also reports that the mobile video audience mostly consists of a highly-valuable demographic range: males between the ages of 18 to 34.Of the four major mobile network operators in the United States, AT&T customers reported the highest percentage of viewing online video at 4.4%. Sprint closely followed with roughly 4.2% of their customers watching on demand mobile video. What do these numbers indicate? Mobile carriers have a long way to go if they want their customers to consume this potentially profitable revenue source. Among the media being watched, music videos are a top choice, along with amateur video clips, such as those found on YouTube and other online video Web sites. Twenty percent of survey respondents reported watching a full TV show or film on their mobile handsets, bucking the mentality that mobile customers only want to watch short clips. Looking at the data, it should be alarming to mobile network operators that more customers are not consuming mobile video. In many cases, mobile handsets in the United States are crippled by the carriers and, as a result, customers have to view Web content (including video) through a branded portal. Now, with Android handsets finally hitting the market, it is possible to view the Web through a standard Internet browser. We believe more mobile users will start to utilize rich media on their handsets. Also, the rollout of high-speed 3G networks will make it more feasible for us to start watching mobile video while on the go.