ZenithOptimedia is forecasting that the number of people regularly watching linear TV will peak this year and will start to decline for the first time in 2016, as mobile drives an increase in online video consumption.
The average amount of time people will spend consuming online video each day will increase by 23.3 percent in 2015 and by a further 19.8 percent in 2016, according to the firm’s Online Video Forecasts report. This growth is being driven by the rise of smartphone and tablet penetration around the world, together with the resulting changes in consumer behavior. Video consumption on mobile devices is forecast to grow by 43.9 percent in 2015 and 34.8 percent in 2016. ZenithOptimedia expects mobile to become the main platform for viewing online video next year.
In regard to traditional, linear TV viewing, ZenithOptimedia is predicting that 2015 will be the peak, with a 3.1 percent rise this year, followed by a decline of 1.9 percent in 2016 and 0.9 percent in 2017. While the amount of time people spend watching linear TV has been declining for several years, it’s now predicted that the number of viewers will be decreasing as well.
The number of regular linear TV viewers has been in decline in France and Russia since 2013, in the U.K. and the U.S. since 2014, and is expected to start to decline in China this year. The decline of linear TV viewing is in direct correlation with the increasing quantity and quality of content available online, both from short-form platforms such as YouTube and long-form platforms, including Netflix. ZenithOptimedia forecasts that the number of regular online video viewers will increase by 5.8 percent in 2015, 5.1 percent in 2016 and 5.3 percent in 2017.
Online video’s share of global digital adspend is increasing at a rapid pace: it was 8.8 percent in 2012 and 10.2 percent in 2014; by 2017 the firm expects it to rise to 12.8 percent, accounting for an eighth of all internet adspend. Online video is the fastest-growing category of internet advertising.
The U.S. online video market is by far the largest: $8.5 billion in 2015, 52.9 percent of the global total, although ZenithOptimedia expects its share to drop to just below half of the global total in 2017. The U.S. also tops, jointly with Italy, the list of markets with the highest proportion of total internet spend going to online video (16.5 percent each in 2015).
Mark Waugh, the global managing director of Newcast, ZenithOptimedia Group’s global branded content network, said, “Consumers all around the world are rapidly embracing online video, because it offers them a near limitless array of engrossing content. Some of the keenest users are the young, affluent viewers who are hardest to reach on television. Brands are finding online video a particularly effective way to reach these valuable audiences, not just with advertising, but also with branded content; content that can inform or entertain consumers in a deeper and richer way than is possible with short, interruptive ads.”