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Digital video grows in UK

News, 12 August 2015

LONDON: Around six in ten of the UK population will watch a digital video in 2015, a proportion that is continuing to grow and one reason that online video advertising expenditure is forecast to account for a quarter of all internet display adspend by 2016.

According to insights provider eMarketer, digital video viewing is one of the nation's most widespread digital activities: 59% of the population – and 75% of internet users – are expected to watch digital video content via any device at least once per month in 2015.

That's a total of 38.5m viewers, which it predicts will increase to 43.4m in 2019. By then almost two thirds of the total population (64.6%) and just under four in five internet users (78.6%) will be watching digital video.

The UK market exhibits some unique characteristics, however, that set it aside from other countries. “Where the UK stands out is in what and how its viewers watch," said Bill Fisher, eMarketer analyst, as he explained the major role of TV content.

“When it comes to mobile, unlike in other European countries, the thirst for short-form content is less pronounced in the UK," he said.

“Rather, long-form content reigns supreme, no matter the screen choice, and UK consumers are often willing to pay for the privilege."

As regards screen choice, the trend is towards smartphones. Last week, figures from Ofcom, the UK media regulator, showed that smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK's preferred device for going online following a huge increase in take-up of 4G mobile broadband.

And eMarketer data indicates that just over half of smartphone users (50.9%) will watch video on their devices during 2015, a figure that will rise steadily over the next four years to reach 55.4% in 2019.

This enthusiasm for video content is one reason that online video advertising expenditure in the UK is forecast to exceed £800m next year, according to the latest Advertising Association/Warc Expenditure Report.

Warc research analyst James McDonald outlined an average growth of 29.5% between 2012 and 2016 for broadcaster VOD ad expenditure while the 'other' category, which includes the likes of YouTube, is set to grow at 47.8% over the same period.

Within online video, he expected spending on pre/post roll to outweigh that on social by 16:1.

Data sourced from eMarketer, Ofcom, MediaTel; additional content by Warc staff