Demand for online video soars in SA

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Online video streaming is growing in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Online video streaming is growing in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town - South Africans are racing to adopt video and are watching more and longer rich media clips on smartphones, new research shows.

According to research from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), locals recorded the second highest year-on-year increase in video consumption.

The report, which is entitled 'Mobile Video Usage: A Global Perspective', says that SA increased its video consumption by 42%, second only to the US at 50%.

The South African increase tied with the New Zealand and Canada, and passed the UK (40%).

"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," said Gustav Goosen, head of the Research Council for IAB SA.

Data jump

Contrary to popular opinion, more mobile users are also streaming longer videos to mobile devices - even while they watch TV.

At least 36% of consumers watch videos of five minutes or longer on smartphones, with those in China (37%) and Singapore (35%) reporting that video consumption on mobile phones reduced their TV time significantly.

"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," said Anna Bager, IAB senior vice president of Mobile and Video.

Smartphones allow for increased consumption of online video. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

All that online video will result in a massive increase in data.

According to the Cisco Visual Network Index, by 2019 the average smartphone will generate 4GB of traffic per month versus 819MB at the end of 2014.

That number puts internet traffic at 24.5 Exabytes per month by 2019, a 10-fold increase over 2014 numbers.

However, as people migrate to online video, marketing budgets that are focused on TV will come under pressure as advertisers look for a more effective return on investment.

Predictably, the most popular platform for video consumption revealed in the survey of 24 countries was Google's YouTube, commanding 62% of video, following by social media platforms (33%) and search (20%).

The survey also revealed that more consumers are willing to pay for video. In China, 33% are willing to pay for streaming video content, followed by the UK (25%) and Canada (23%).


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