Watching videos online will soon take up an hour a day, according to report

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An average of almost an hour a day will be spent watching online video by the end of 2016, half of it on mobile devices. Photograph: PA

People around the world will be spending an average of almost an hour a day watching online video by the end of next year, and more than half of that will be spent on a mobile device, according to a report from ZenithOptimedia.

Mobile devices will become the dominant source of online video within the next 12 months, and television will peak this year, before starting to fall for the first time, predicts the firm, part of advertising group Publicis.

The proliferation of smartphones and the improvement in data connections are behind the change, according to Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting. “It is also a matter of supply. A lot of broadcasters know that online is where the growth is. They know that young people are spending time on mobile devices and advertisers want to concentrate on them.”

Barnard added that, while a relatively large proportion of people in the UK watch video online, it accounts for relatively little of the country’s online advertising spend. “That is because of the strength of the iPlayer, which is walled off from advertising.”

The report, which drew on samples from 40 countries, says the average amount of time day people will spend consuming online video each day will increase by 23.3% in 2015 and by a further 19.8% in 2016.

The report also predicted that video consumption on mobile devices would grow by 43.9% in 2015 and 34.8% in 2016 from 39 minutes per day in 2014. It said that video consumption on desktop devices would also grow, but at a significantly lower rate.

It also said that the number of people regularly watching traditional, linear television would rise 3.1% in 2015, but then shrink by 1.9% next year and by 0.9% the year after. The largest advertising market for online video, it predicted, would be the US which would account for an $8.5bn (£5.45bn) spend in 2015 – 52.9% of the global total. Although, its share was expected to fall to 49.9% by 2017.

“More people in the UK now access the internet via smartphones and tablets than via PCs, and mobile devices already account for more than half of all time spent online. So, a growing share of entertainment is being consumed on these pocket TV sets,” said Joseph Evans of Enders Analysis.

He added: “According to Google, half of all video requests on YouTubeare now from mobile devices. Facebook too is pushing hard into video, and this is having a huge impact as its audience converts to mobile. Although broadcast television viewing is falling, the TV set accounts for the vast majority of overall viewing and it still has many advantages over its smaller-screened competitors.

“Many viewers, especially older people, prefer to watch programmes on their living room TV. But people are spending more and more time watching online video and here mobile devices are increasingly dominant.”

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