The conventional wisdom used to be that the smaller the screen, the less likely it would be that consumers would want to watch video on it. And sure, when watching a live sports event or a summer blockbuster, they’re going to try to watch it on the biggest, highest-quality screen they can. But consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable watching video on mobile devices, new research shows, particularly in public places, while commuting, or while at work — that is, all places where a 60″ plasma screen is not likely to be available.
Nearly half of all mobile device owners surveyed (46 percent) find the idea of watching live digital television on a mobile device appealing, with younger respondents and so-called early adopters leading the way. Seventy-seven percent of early adopters showed interest in watching mobile video, with 65 percent of “Millennials” — those aged 18-29 — also finding such services appealing.
Viewer interest depended heavily on the type of content available. Almost 90 percent of respondents said they would be interested in watching news content if it’s available, led by breaking news (76 percent), emergency reports (75 percent), and weather (74 percent). There was also strong interest in general entertainment content, with 65 percent of respondents saying they’d tune in to watch entertainment programming on a mobile device. That segment was particularly strong with Millennials, 79 percent of which expressed interest in watching entertainment programming.
The survey exposed a need for mobile video services to include live video, as 51 percent of respondents said they would want live programming, stressing the need to access information as it was happening. That compares with only 18 percent who said on-demand videos were necessary. There’s also hope for a mix of business models, as 49 percent surveyed said they would watch advertising and another 36 percent said they would pay for digital TV content on a mobile device.
But there are some caveats to the study. The research was commissioned by the Open Mobile Video Coalition (OMVC), a consortium with members like Fox Television, NBC Universal, and PBS that have a vested interest in making mobile video more widely available. And the study, which was conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates, surveyed about 1,000 respondents — the majority of which already had some kind of media-enabled mobile device.
Perhaps most importantly, when the study refers to “mobile devices,” it’s not just talking about smartphones, but also referring to netbooks, laptops, and other portable media players that might not be limited to a 2-inch screen. In fact, 45 percent of respondents said they would most likely watch live mobile video on a laptop or netbook, while 19 percent said they would watch it on a smartphone and just 14 percent said they would watch it on a video-enabled cell phone.