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eMarketer: Mobile digital video usage growing in the UK

Forecast shows that users will spend just under an hour watching digital video this year, with almost two-thirds of this time spent on mobile

Mobile viewing is on the rise with UK consumers watching more digital video content than ever before, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast.

The forecast, included in the company’s UK Digital Video and TV forecast report, shows that adults in the UK will spend just under an hour (59 minutes) watching digital video this year, with almost two-thirds of this time spent on mobile.

Mobile video time in the UK is expected to grow by more than 16 per cent this year, as smartphones get bigger and more affordable, and mobile-only platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram grow their user bases. By the end of next year, eMarketer expects UK adults will spend almost 32 minutes watching video on a smartphone, with younger age groups driving this change.

However, eMarketer believes a rich and diverse on-demand environment in the UK has helped quality, long-form content maintain a firm foothold, no matter the device used to consume it, even among younger generations. It has also witnessed digital video ad spend growing rapidly alongside these advanced consumer habits.

“Consumers in the UK are watching more digital video content, and more of it on smartphones, than ever before,” said eMarketer’s UK senior analyst Bill Fisher. “What they’re watching is changing slightly, though, with the influence of quality TV programming being keenly felt. We all know about the impact that subscription video-on-demand platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime have had on consumer behaviour.

“But even on platforms more associated with user-generated content (a la YouTube), there’s an increasing tilt toward longer-form viewing, often via channels on the platform with high production values. Marketers are watching this trend with interest, particularly given the ongoing saga that YouTube’s been having with brand safety.”