Learn to deal with the online video gorillas as consumers go mobile, warns Ooyala GM

As video increasingly moves to mobile devices, working with the major online platforms is essential for brands and video producers, according to Ooyala’s Steve Davis.

Davis was speaking to Mumbrella ahead of his presentation this morning to the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers conference in Sydney discussing the findings of Ooyala’s recent Global Video Index.



The key finding of the report is the majority of consumers in the APAC region, including Australians, are watching long-form video content – defined as longer than 20 minutes – on their smartphones, increasing by 24 percentage points in the past 12 months to 61% of users.

“I think it’s super important for folks to understand what’s happening with long-form content, it was surprising even to me and I’m in this space, when we looked at the latest numbers,” Davis said.

“Mobile growth is growing tremendously and the second part is long-form content is growing on all devices where it used to be dominant on connected TVs, it’s now dominant across all devices.

“In APAC, the phone is king. In North America and EMEA you still have the PC as the leader. APAC now, with a year-on-year increase of 24% over the past 12 months, is 61%.”

The index, which surveys anonymised data from Ooyala’s customers, including Sky Sports, NBCUniversal, Germany’s RTL and Singapore’s Mediacorp has reported the percentage of video plays on mobile devices has now increased for 22 consecutive quarters.

For advertisers and content makers, this presents challenges warned Davis as the online mobile world is increasingly dominated by the FANG providers – Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google.

“You have these gorillas, they dominate the market and if the publishers don’t take some of that on by themselves and make some of that money you’re giving that money away to the Big Three,” referring to Facebook, Apple and Google who are taking the bulk of online advertising revenue.

“You need to figure out a strategy, you’re not necessarily competing with the big three, you are competing for dollars of course. You go away from giving away all of your revenue to coming up with strategies to make sure you’re not giving away all of your revenue.”

One notable finding is online viewers are tolerating advertisements with the survey finding completion rates on pre-roll ads for 93% ads, something Davis put down to good content and precise targeting:

“As a publisher you use analytics and maybe artificial intelligence to match content to users,” he said. “Although they may be putting it up to it, they are getting to content as it’s a fit to them as a consumer.

“The key is ‘How do you earmark content that’s going to reach me that I’m willing to sit through?'”

Looking towards the future, Davis sees the mobile shift increasing as 5G networks are rolled out and the quality of online video improves, something which is going to lift the bar for content makers.

“The best way to start is premium content that consumers want to watch once you have the content is asking ‘How do you reach the consumer and are you doing that in a way that’s enjoyable?’

“I was in Japan this week and saw my first 8k stream, the quality is going to get outrageously good,” he concluded. “When the networks rolls out 5G you could have broadcast quality. Every day you get better networks, every day you get better quality broadcasts. Between the two, as a viewer my options get better.”


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