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Mobile video moving from niche to rich in 2012

By Paul Bremer

From the tablet revolution to multi-tiered data plans, mobile has grown and matured over the course of 2011.

Commuters who used to listen to ABC News podcasts are now watching the news on the train to work.

Fliers who used to snack on their favorite Seinfeld clips are now digesting full-length episodes on their iPads.

In fact, according to eMarketer, consumers now spend more time on mobile devices than with print media.

New episode
Thanks to smartphone and tablet proliferation, and ubiquitous connectivity, mobile has officially moved from a niche alternative to a mainstream medium.

Naturally, tablets have played a major role in changing consumption behavior.

With a screen size that rivals a laptop, the quality of the tablet experience allows active consumers to take control of their programming schedule.

IDC projects final tablet sales for 2011 to be just north of 60 million units. J.P. Morgan projects tablet sales to reach nearly 100 million in 2012.

As a result, mobile video is poised to explode. Many U.S. consumers, especially millennials, now consider their mobile device to be the primary screen for watching video content.

But let us not forget about the smartphone.

According to Nielsen, smartphones are now nearly 50 percent of the U.S. mobile phone market, up from 18 percent three years ago.

Additionally, the introduction of 4G and prevalence of WiFi continues to improve viewing quality.

Faster connection speeds and device adoption have prompted media companies to invest in high quality programming for the mobile universe.

Many have questioned whether there is audience appetite for full episode viewing in mobile.

Fortunately, major media companies have not. Whether watching Gossip Girl on the CW television network’s application or Pineapple Express via Sony Crackle, viewers are beginning to choose mobile as their go-to long-form choice.

With an experience that now rivals online and TV, what is the future of mobile video? Content and advertising follow eyeballs.

Eyeballing future
Now that quality programming has arrived, brand advertising is beginning to follow.

We estimate that 100 million people will be able to watch mobile video on mobile devices in 2012.

Indeed, we project that 80 percent of the top 100 brand advertisers will run mobile campaigns next year.

The research firm mobileSquared predicts that mobile advertising spending will be more than $2 billion nationwide this year.

The “Year of Mobile” for which so many were looking never came and never will.

Mobile has been changing the game in increments, sneaking up on other mediums.

I fully expect mobile to challenge online and TV for eyeballs, content and advertising dollars as mobile has distinct advantages over these two.

Mobile’s inherent convenience makes accessing media very easy for the consumer.

Advertiser engagement metrics, such as an 87 percent video ad completion rate, help mobile stand strong among more established rivals.

These impressive stats are due in large part to the single task immersive nature of a mobile device: presenting an undistracted audience to advertisers.

BY PROVIDING the power of sight sound and motion along with great targeting and reporting data, mobile truly is the best of TV and online.

I met recently with an agency team representing very large national brand. The head of the account said, “Video is video is video and we want to be wherever our target audience is.” Unsurprisingly, she followed by stating that mobile is now one of those places.

Paul Bremer is chief revenue officer of Rhythm NewMedia, New York. Reach him at [email protected].