Smartphones: That’s where your audience is watching short films

smartphone video production
Tablets and smartphones are becoming the predominant platform for viewing videos.
Andrew Tolve, Micro-Documentaries' Content Strategist, explores.
(Photo courtesy of TNW News)

We often remind our clients that understanding their audience is the first step to creating effective short films. Once they step into their audience’s shoes and understand their aspirations, it becomes easier to frame a story and achieve specific goals for their organizations with video content.

Similarly, we need to consider where audiences will engage with content. Is it their computer? A laptop? A tablet?

Increasingly, the answer is a smartphone.

Plain observation can lead you to this conclusion. The sidewalks of pretty much any city on the planet are now filled with pedestrians glued to their smartphones, often with a GIF or a Facebook film in motion. Hard data backs it up. An impressive 46% of all video viewing now takes place on mobile devices. That applies to smartphones and tablets combined, with smartphones exceeding tablets by a factor of 6x in the U.S. Those are the findings from research firm Ooyala’s latest index of video viewing, titled “Millennials Take the Wheel.”

Let that number sink in for a moment: 46%. That means nearly half of all videos are being watched on mobile devices, and nearly 40% on smartphones in particular. Ooyala says that tablet and smartphone plays grew 35% in the past year and 170% since 2013. “Mobile slowly but steadily is becoming the dominant form of video consumption,” writes Jim O’Neill, Ooyala’s principal analyst and videomind editor.

short film rise of mobile video
Phone and tablet plays constituted nearly 50% of all video views in Q42015. Graph courtesy of Ooyala.

What does this mean for you? Among other things, keep your short films in a smartphone-optimized format: short, punchy and dynamic. 69% of all videos watched on smartphones were under 10 minutes, according to the report. True, that means that nearly a third of all videos were longer than 10 minutes, but with people on the go — pulling phones out of their pockets, scanning email, checking out a film that a friend sent a link to, then hopping into a meeting or a car or dinner with the family — brevity is paramount.

Another interesting point from the report: These mobile trends apply equally around the world, with the same roughly 50% mobile viewing metric applying to Europe, the Asia Pacific and North America.

“Millennials are a distinctly global generation, sharing more similarities than generations before them, and they’re driving us to a digital homogeneity that is distinctly mobile,” writes O’Neill.




Andrew Tolve

Andrew Tolve is Micro-Documentaries' Content Strategist. He moonlights as a journalist whose work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and National Geographic Adventure, among others. By daylight, he's a stay-at-home dad.




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