Online video accounted for more than half of all Internet traffic in 2011, and it’s only going to grow: Cisco (s CSCO) estimates that we will consume three trillion Internet video minutes worldwide per month by 2016. That means that the world will watch the equivalent of 833 days of video every single second!
The number of people using online video services will also grow dramatically. Worldwide, 792 million people used online video last year. By 2016, that number will roughly double, to 1.5 billion users.
Cisco released these projections Wednesday as part of its annual Visual Networking Index forecast, which also concluded that the world’s data consumption will reach 1.3 zettabytes by 2016 (for more details on that staggering number, check out Stacey Higginbotham’s write-up). But most intriguing about all that data, and the role video is playing, are the devices that are causing it.
TVs and game consoles make us watch longer
There are two major factors for online video’s huge growth potential: Online video is finding its way to the living room TV set, and people are watching more videos on tablets. Cisco’s forecast shows that especially those HD streams to the TV will have a huge impact going forward. The amount of Internet video delivered to TVs already doubled in 2011, and its expected to grow sixfold by 2016. By 2016, online video delivered to TVs will make up for six percent of all worldwide consumer Internet traffic.
Some additional data released by Ooyala today explains quite nicely why TV traffic is growing that much: Once online video reaches the TV, viewers start to stick around much longer. Completion rates for videos longer than 6 minutes are over 50 percent on connected TVs, but only around 25 percent on PCs.
Even more astonishing: 88 percent of all content consumed on connected TVs is longer than 10 minutes.
More devices will cause more traffic
At the same time, we are going to watch a lot more video on mobile phones and tablets. Mobile video traffic will grow 18-fold from 2011 to 2016, and the number of worldwide mobile users will reach 1.6 billion, a six-fold increase over 2011 levels. Altogether, nearly a third of all Internet traffic will come from devices other than the PC in 2016.
Of course, all of that wouldn’t be possible if we all didn’t have more and more devices to watch all those videos. Cisco estimates that the number of connected devices per U.S. household is going to grow from 5.5 connected devices (excluding cell phones and anything accessing mobile phone networks) to 8.5 devices by 2016.
Disclosure: GigaOM has a commercial relationship with Ooyala for the delivery of its video content.