Digital devices transform video habits

17 May 2012

NEW YORK: A majority of internet users across the globe now watch video content on computers and mobile phones each month, while more than a quarter use tablets for this purpose.

Nielsen, the research firm, polled an online panel of 28,000 people in 56 countries, and found that 84% played back video on a computer at least monthly, beating the 83% posted by TV.

These totals came in at 56% for mobile phones, 37% for DVRs, 33% for games consoles and similar gadgets, 31% for DVD players or TV screens in a car, and 28% for both tablets and e-readers.

Within this, TV's monthly figures fell seven percentage points year on year, and computers were off by two 31 points. The share of respondents viewing video online via any device, however, rose four points to 74%.

Mobile's 56% rating was equivalent to a one point gain, and hit 74% in Asia Pacific, as well as 72% in the Middle East and Africa. Almost 40% of the sample in the latter regions streamed video through this route on a daily basis.

Scores dipped to 38% for the US, though this was an improvement on the 30% logged the previous time the Nielsen survey was taken.

"The convenience of mobile connectivity has revolutionized how people are engaging with digital content and each other around the world," Dounia Turrill, Nielsen's SVP for client insights, said.

"With the growth of smartphones, mobile video consumption is on the rise for entertainment content, particularly in emerging markets where many consumers leapfrog home internet altogether in favor of the all-in-one smartphone."

In terms of device ownership, 57% of interviewees had a computer with a high-speed web connection, dropping to 36% for smartphones, 35% for HDTV, 23% for DVRs, 19% for web-connected TVs and 12% for tablets.

When discussing future purchase intent, a further 21% of participants will "definitely" or "probably" buy a smartphone in the next 12 months, taking the potential penetration of these handsets to 57%.

An additional 19% of consumers expressed an interest in acquiring slates such as Apple's iPad or the Kindle Fire, promising to give these appliances a 31% reach.

Elsewhere, planned purchase levels stood at 23% for web-connected, 3D and high-definition TV sets, and 19% for DVRs, suggesting the diversity of devices in use should continue to rise.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff