Driven by ubiquitous broadband, increasingly smart devices and free, easy-to-use video chat services, the number of video calls that consumers make is expected to increase nearly ten-fold over the next five years. That will lead to an explosion in mobile video chat revenues, which are expected to reach $3.4 billion by 2015, according to a new report by GigaOM Pro. (subscription required)
The report, entitled “Can You See Me Now?: The New World of Consumer Visual Communications,” forecasts that consumers will make 29.6 billion video calls in 2015, up from just 3.2 billion this year. During that time, most video calls will be made over PCs, but by 2015, the number of video calls made over the computer will level out as consumers take advantage of video chat services available on mobile devices and Internet-connected TVs.
The report forecasts that the number of consumers using mobile video chat services will increase from about 3 million in 2010 to 143 million in 2015. That increase, along with a growing number of minutes per consumer, will push mobile video chat volume from just one percent of all video calls to 29 percent by 2015. As mobile video calling catches on, so too will revenues associated with the service. As a result, the report estimates that mobile video revenues will grow from about $90 million in 2010 to $3.4 billion just five years later.
While consumers will become increasingly interested in video chat enabled through their mobile devices, there are still risks involved that could hamper adoption. Most notably, mobile carriers might not be keen on video chat traffic running over already overloaded 3G networks. As a result, they could limit video calling to WiFi networks only, or begin putting bandwidth caps on mobile broadband services that could make it expensive for consumers to use mobile video chat.
Mobile video chat won’t be the only potential beneficiary of growing consumer adoption of video calling. Services that work on the next generation of Internet-connected TVs should also see tremendous growth over the next five years. The report estimates that the number of Internet-connected TVs shipped will grow from 21 million in 2010 to 182 million by 2015, and video calling will be one of the services that people will be willing to pay for over those devices. As a result, the report estimates that revenue associated with TV-based video chat services will rise from $3.7 million in 2010 to $2.4 billion by 2015.
To view the complete report on GigaOM Pro (subscription required), click here.