Summary:

New data from Nielsen shows that teens are the biggest consumers of video on mobile devices, watching on average more than 7 hours of mobile video a month. That’s four hours more than their parents typically watch and twice as much as the average mobile user.

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If the children are our future, than the future of video consumption might just be on mobile devices. That’s one key takeaway from new data released by media measurement firm Nielsen on Wednesday. This could spell trouble for mobile networks if this consumption isn’t offloaded to Wi-Fi networks, and may drop as operators implement new charging plans that raise prices for mobile data.

Nielsen found that teens were by far the biggest consumers of video on mobile device, watching 7 hours and 13 minutes of mobile video a month. That’s four and a half more hours a month than their parents in the 35-49 year old demographic, who watch on average 2 hours and 53 minutes on their mobile phones, and double the average of 3 hours and 37 minutes of video among all mobile viewers.

In fact, Nielsen’s data shows that increasingly older demographics watch less video on mobile, which is the exact inverse of its findings on the average amount of TV viewing that different age groups partake in. In its State of the Media report, Nielsen found that teens aged 12-17 watched 103 hours and 46 minutes of TV a month, compared to 35-49 year olds, who watched an average of 145 hours and 49 minutes a month.

The data suggests that teens are more likely to supplement or replace their TV viewing with mobile viewing. Or it could just mean that, instead of fighting for control of the living room remote, they’re more willing to try to find personalized entertainment on the small screen.

That said, mobile viewing appears to be increasing among all demographics. The total number of people watching video on a mobile device has increased more than 43 percent over the last year, rising from 15 million in the second quarter 2009 to nearly 22 million in the same period this year. That increase has come as the total number of mobile users has only increased 4 percent in the same time period, which suggests that smartphones with video capabilities are becoming much more prevalent among mobile users.

The amount of time that users are spending watching videos on mobile devices is also increasing. Viewers watched an average of 3 hours and 37 minutes of video on mobile devices, which is up from 3 hours and 15 minutes a year before. While the growth in average time viewed is not as robust, at just 11 percent, it comes from a much larger group of viewers.

Interestingly enough, the average amount of time that viewers spent on mobile video hasn’t decreased as more mainstream users have come on board, suggesting that they have just as voracious of an appetite for mobile video as early adopters. And with more teens growing up and getting video-enabled handsets, you can expect that trend to continue.

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