From Snacking to Serious Viewing - How Tablets and Smartphones are Replacing Traditional TVs

Amazon Fire Tablet Image Credit: Amazon

At a time where some households are doing away with TV sets and replacing them with PCs, tablets and smartphones, it is not surprising that tablets and smartphones and other internet-connected digital screens are on the fast track to becoming the TV screens of the future. According to Ooyala, a Telstra subsidiary and provider of solutions for video publishing, analytics and monetization, the number of videos viewed on tablets and smartphones rose by 400% in the last two years. At the same time, traditional TV makers are metamorphosizing into suppliers of LCD, Plasma and UHD/LED screens that have become pure digital displays with enough number of in-ports and Wi-Fi connectivity, enabling consoles, media players, smartphones, tablets and other smart connected devices to connect and deliver a wide range of video content from multiple online sources.

Tablets and smartphones in particular, made up 30% of all online video views in the third quarter of last year, marking a 114% year-on-year increase. Ooyala which reported these and other findings in its Q3 2014 Global Video Index Report, predicts that the share of online video views on these two device types will swell to 50% during the later of this year. More importantly, these devices which in the past are associated with viewing of short video clips (such as those shared on YouTube) are now moving into the long-form content segment (videos more than 10 minutes). According to Ooyala, tablet and smartphone viewers spent 68% and 48% of their viewing times on these videos compared to 80% spent by Connected-TV viewers during the 3rd quarter of last year.  

Video viewing on digital smart devices is catalyzed primarily by the ease of access, the availability of free and engaging content, the 'on-demand feature' that enables anyone to watch any content they wish at any time and also the value added features such as sharing, favouriting and foldering offered on today's leading online video application platforms. On the supply side, publishers and broadcasters(including the likes of cable and satellite TV operators) have jumped on the digital content bandwagon and are continuously digitalizing the bulk of their content as well as optimizing their content delivery and quality to fit small screen viewing, touch screen-based navigation and byte-sized subscriptions. For telecom operators, the increasing popularity of short and long-form videos on smaller screens points to increased opportunities in two areas - firstly, their connectivity business, especially LTE and LTE-A services that deliver high speed connectivity for a truly superior experience on rich digital content; and secondly, their digital services offerings as more service providers shift their business focus to providing digital content, in this case video content via services such as catch-up TV. Multi-screen services are already proving their popularity and mobile operators in particular, stand to benefit by being able to supply subscription-based exclusive content in partnership with local channels and video content giants such as Amazon and Netflix, as part of their mobile data bundles covering every screen within the household, including that in the connected car.  

Jay Fulcher, CEO, Ooyala
Cloud-based TV has arrived. Broadcasters and content providers realize that, with the right approach, IP-delivered content can be more economical with higher return in terms of building and monetizing audiences, compared to linear TV. What’s really exciting is the pace at which many of the most prominent players in the industry are now innovating and meeting their audiences where they are - with the content they want most, on the right screen, at the right time, with an incredibly rich experience.

Executive Editor of The Fast Mode | 5G | IoT/M2M | Telecom Strategy | Mobile Data Innovations 

Tara Neal covers stories on strategies and initiatives in the Digital Telco space, and anchors the 5G and IoT/M2M verticals on the publication. Tara holds a First Class Honours in BSc Accounting and Finance from The London School of Economics, UK and is a CFA charterholder from the CFA Institute, United States. Tara has over 20 years experience in technology and business strategy.

Follow her on Twitter @taraneal11, LinkedIn @taraneal11, Facebook or email her at


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