Tablets Are Changing Television

A company named Ooyala released an interesting VideoMind Video Index report last fall (free sign-up required). The report has a lot of fascinating information about how much time people spend watching online video on various types of devices and what type of content they watch, but this is the chart that I found most interesting:

From the VideoMind Video Index report from Ooyala, November 2011

One interesting take-away is that people are more likely to complete a video when watched on a Connected TV or a streaming device attached to a television than they are with computers or mobile phones. But that’s not the big news that I see here. People will stick with a video longer when viewed on a tablet than with any other device. This is an astounding difference when you consider how recently tablets appeared on the market. What is it about them?

I believe that this actually is linked to a subject that I wrote about five years ago. Watching television has traditionally been a group activity, but experiments with television on mobile phones five years ago indicated that there was strong appeal for being able to watch video content on a personal device. You don’t have to fight over the remote control, you don’t have to negotiate over what to watch with the others in the room. Video viewing can be a personal experience.

The problem was that the mobile phone screen is tiny and does not deliver a particularly satisfying experience. That has changed now that we have affordable tablets with good screen quality. Thanks to Netflix and Amazon On Demand, the Kindle Fire is going to have at least as much impact on the television programming distribution business as it will on the book publishing. I don’t think that the group activity of watching video on a large screen is going to go away any time soon, I do expect that a growing proportion of the audience will also choose to watch their tablet. This is the start of a significant trend.