The video wave rolls on worldwide

In countries around the world, it’s no longer the TV set in the home that’s the primary way people consume video. According to new research from market researcher Nielsen, just published, how people consume audio-visual content today embraces many different methods.

It seems clear that evolving video consumption habits keep pace not only with new viewing platforms that have emerged – mobile video, for instance, and tablet computers like the iPad – but also new leases of life for traditional television in some countries with compelling developments such as 3D TV and internet-connected TVs.

We’ve been saying for a while that there is evidence to support our view that video is increasingly popular from a consumer perspective as a preferred means of obtaining information, and learning.


Nielsen questioned more than 27,000 online consumers in 55 countries, asking simple questions about how they watch video to build up a credible picture of cross-platform video consumption amongst global online consumers today.

From the business perspective, there are some very interesting metrics among Nielsen’s findings that we should pay close attention to. First, though, here are the overall conclusions from Nielsen’s research:

  • Television: a universally-important platform for video consumption, with consumers in many markets now spending 4+ hours per day watching television.
  • HDTV (High-Definition TV): improving the TV viewing experience for as many as 30% of global online consumers. Adoption is highest among older consumers and in North America, where HD content has proliferated.
  • Online Video: approximately 70% of global online consumers watch online video; but North Americans and Europeans lag in adoption. More than half of global online consumers watch online video in the workplace.
  • Mobile Video: already used by 11% of global online consumers: penetration is highest in Asia-Pacific and among consumers in their late 20s.
  • Tablet PCs: expanding the definition of mobile video. Globally, 11% of online consumers already own or plan to purchase a tablet PC (such as an iPad) in the next year.
  • 3DTV (Three-Dimensional TV): 12% of global online consumers own or have definite intent to purchase a 3DTV in the next year.
  • Internet TVs: televisions with internet connections are gaining interest. About one in five (22%) global online consumers owns or has definite interest in buying a television with an internet connection.

What struck me especially from these findings are the implications for organizations, and workplace issues.

Nielsen’s research shows that 57% of respondents worldwide report having watched online video on their computers at work – higher amongst younger consumers, says Nielsen, who have grown accustomed to accessing video whenever and wherever they want it.

That’s the average percentage; mileage varies from country to country. Take a look at this chart:


Clearly, if you were thinking about communicating with consumers in the workplace in China, India, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia or Colombia, video ought to be high up on your tactics list. Not so, perhaps, in Denmark, Japan, the UK, the USA or Hungary (also some of the countries where the rate of organizations blocking workplace access to video is high).

Consider, too, three specific platforms: online video, mobile video and tablet PCs. As with online video, mobile video and tablet PCs are already commonplace in the workplace, never mind (or, maybe, because of) employer blocking.

They have one thing (at least) in common – each provides the user great convenience for grabbing and consuming content, on the user’s terms: on demand, whenever they want and whenever there’s a network connection, whether that’s wired, wifi or cellular.

Look at the growth potential in mobile video use. Separate research earlier this year predicted a compound annual growth rate of more than 117% for mobile video use in the USA alone.

And the iPad tablet computer as well as iPhone – notwithstanding Apple’s refusal to support the universal Flash video format (what the vast majority of web-based video is currently delivered as), iPads in particular have already attracted much corporate attention as a serious business tool.

Consider, too, that platforms like these are also creation platforms – this is not just about passive consumption but also the empowerment of individuals to create their own content – and that so-called ‘user-generated content’ is often video or other visual content: presentation decks, for instance, shared publicly in places like SlideShare (see Bob Pearson’s post last week for more on SlideShare).

These are all viable platforms from which to connect and engage with consumers, employees and others where we as communicators provide the content. If we have the answers to what people are looking for, it makes sense to enable them to find our answers on their terms.

That means video, too.

See Nielsen’s full report: How We Watch – The Global State of Video Consumption. Free download (but registration required).

(Cross-posted from the WCG Common Sense blog.)

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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