comScore has released a new report which suggests that mobile video viewing is no longer going to experience the massive levels of growth that it has been. Released via the company's site, the aptly titled "2017 U.S. Cross-Platform Future in Focus" report points to several reasons for the apparent incoming contraction in mobile media consumption.
For television-based viewing, findings indicate that the vast majority of viewing still occurs over live television, accounting for 84-percent. Digital television recording devices make up around 15-percent of that usage. Video on demand only adds up to around a single percent of media consumption and 90-percent of sports viewing is via live platforms. Most viewers also appear to watch live TV mostly because services for television are often bundled with other services like broadband. Mobile viewing did peak at an average of around three hours per user, per day, in 2016. However, according to the report, device advancements have also slowed to become more incremental and the United States market for smartphones is "nearing saturation," while the tablet market has "flattened." Viewing on tablets actually declined throughout 2016. The conclusion of the assessment seems to mostly come down to a growing convergence of traditional media with new methods for taking in media. That media is being split over a wider and widening variety of viewing devices, including "smart TVs, streaming boxes, and gaming consoles," according to comScore.
What does all of this mean? First of all, Google revealed just last month that consumers take in around 100k years worth of YouTube content every single day, so it doesn't appear to be all doom and gloom. The growing number of viewing platforms means that accurately analyzing which platforms are used for media consumption is becoming increasingly difficult. That can also be, at least partially, attributed to the fact that consumption can happen across multiple devices in a more literal sense. For example, Chromecast devices allow mobile or PC-based media to be streamed to a television and, in the opposing direction, live television is viewable via streaming services in both application and web forms. However, what all of this really means is that the mobile platform has simply reached a level of saturation similar to that of televisions. While rapid growth on the mobile front may come to an end, the use of mobile phones to watch videos isn't going anywhere anytime soon.