Half of Americans Watch Long Videos on Smartphones

More than a third of consumers worldwide said they daily watch videos exceeding five minutes in length on their smartphones, and one fifth said they’re in the habit of doing so while also watching traditional television.

Some 5,000 consumers in 24 countries polled by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) laid to rest assumptions that people won’t watch long videos on small screens. Fully one third (36%) regularly use their phones to watch long videos, but the trend is even more pronounced in the U.S. (50%), Canada (42%), and U.K. (40%).

Thirty percent of Americans and Canadians polled said they’ve watched full TV shows on their phones, and 20% said they’ve viewed entire movies.

The IAB’s findings shed new light, too, on the meaning of the term “second screen.” While it’s often assumed that people are in apps, doing searches, or communicating on social media while watching TV, 22% of respondents told the IAB that they watched other video content on their smartphones while in front of their home entertainment centers. In the U.S., the percentage of dual-viewers was 25%.

“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,” Anna Bager, SVP of mobile and video at IAB, in a statement about the study. “However, the finding that viewers around the world are now 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?”

The study makes a good case for marketers using mobile video to better target audiences with their ads. More than 80% of those surveyed expressed interest in ads tailored to their interests. Most favored were ads tailored to the content of the video being watched (28%), followed by viewing history (19%), and favorite brands (18%).

The most common route to video viewing on phones was YouTube (62%). Next came social media platforms (33%), searches (20%), and advertising (14%).

In other video-related news, the IAB announced today that it will henceforth assume management of the “Open Video Viewablity” initiative, a project focused on building open source coding to enable streamlined measurement of the Media Rating Council’s viewable impression standard for video advertising. The program was originally a joint effort of BrightRoll, Innovid, LiveRail, SpotXchange, and TubeMogul.

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