South Africa recorded the second highest year-on-year increase in the viewing of video on smartphones with 42%, tying with New Zealand and Canada and surpassing the UK (40%). The country with the most prominent uptick in video on their smartphones was the United States (50%).

“As the IAB SA, we’re delighted with South Africa’s inclusion in this global research study by the IAB. The overall findings underpin many conversations and opinion pieces of late, pointing to the change in audience consumption and ever increasing use of smart devices to stream video content. South Africa’s claim of the second highest year-on-year increase from the 24 countries surveyed, somewhat, contradicts the ever-present reference to limited broadband access and further illustrates that SA has a burgeoning online video consumption market, ripe for engagement,” says Gustav Goosen, head of Research Council for IAB SA. “We look forward to South Africa’s participation in the next global study and we’re expecting the SA market to feature even more prominently in the key findings.”

A trend towards watching more video content on mobile phones, ultimately impacts the actual content that is being watched and how long it is watched for. Thirty-six percent of the total respondents said they watch videos that are five minutes or longer on their phones daily or more frequently. If South Africa’s increasing consumption of online video content is anything to go by, the way viewers interact with local television is set to shift dramatically.  

“The popularity of digital video is evident across small screens the world over,” said Anna Bager, senior vice president Mobile and Video, IAB, and GM of the IAB Digital Video and Mobile Marketing Centers of Excellence. “The fact that people are not only watching short snippets of programming, but committing to longer form content on their phones, opens doors for brands to be part of this impressive mobile engagement. However, the findings are that viewers around the world are now video dual screening while watching TV, points to an emerging challenge for marketers:  How do you grab a viewer’s attention when it’s divided between two simultaneous video feeds?”

Apps are indisputably the main method for viewing mobile video in each of the markets studied. Nearly half of respondents overall (48%) said that they “only” or “mostly” leverage mobile apps to stream video on their phones. More than a quarter (28%) of viewers across the participating countries said that they often see ads on mobile video that they’ve already seen on TV. But, marketers might be missing out with this approach – since 80% or more of consumers in most markets expressed interest in any kind of tailored ad versus “I prefer no tailoring of ads at all.” The findings point to the importance of ads being relevant to the content of the video being watched, but also show viewing history being a significant factor.

“Audiences around the world are overwhelmingly open to mobile video advertisements that relate to their context and viewing patterns,” said Joe Laszlo, senior director of the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. “Clearly, this is a real boon to global marketers that want to ensure they reach the audience segments most likely to be interested in their products or services.”

In addition to advertising, the study shows that there is potential for mobile video monetisation through subscription and pay-on-demand models. In several markets, viewers already demonstrate a willingness to pay for video content that is streamed to phones.

Still, there are barriers to overcome for further success in pay-for models, and much need to grow mobile video advertising revenue.  Seventy-eight percent of respondents overall stated that they would rather have free mobile video supported by ads.

Download the complete IAB Mobile Video Usage: A Global Perspective here

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