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Long video rides mobile wave

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Despite the rather high broadband costs in South Africa, a recent survey has shown that local users are the second highest – next to New Zealand and Canada – when it comes to steaming video on smartphones or tablets.

Contrary to popular opinion, mobile screens are regularly being tapped for streaming longer-form video, according to “Mobile Video Usage: A Global Perspective,” a new survey of consumers from 24 countries who watch smartphone video.

Published by the global Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), it shows South Africa recording the second highest year-on-year increase (42%) in the viewing of video on smartphones, tying with New Zealand and Canada and surpassing the UK (40%). The country with the most prominent uptick in video on smartphones was the United States (50%).

“The overall findings underpin many conversations and opinion pieces of late, pointing to the change in audience consumption and ever increasing use of smart devices to stream video content,” says Gustav Goosen, Head of Research Council for IAB SA. “It contradicts the ever-present reference to limited broadband access and further illustrates that SA has a burgeoning online video consumption market, ripe for engagement.”

The research also confirms a trend noted last year by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, in the South African Social Media Landscape 2015 report. It showed that YouTube was the fastest growing social network in South Africa, with 7,2-million users.

A trend towards watching more video content on mobile phones ultimately impacts on the content that is being watched and how long it is watched. Thirty-six percent of the total respondents said they watch videos that are five minutes or longer on their phones daily or more frequently.

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Smartphone video viewers in Turkey, Finland, China, Russia and Singapore are particularly frequent viewers of such videos. Even longer programming, such as movies and full-length television show episodes, are also viewed by audiences on mobile devices, with Chinese viewers being the most inclined to watch both films and TV shows on their mobile screens. Consumers in China (37%) and Singapore (35%) report the highest incidence of watching less TV due to streaming more on mobile. If South Africa’s increasing consumption of online video content is anything to go by, the way viewers interact with local television is set to shift dramatically.

When mobile video viewers do watch traditional television, however, 22 percent are regularly doing so while watching video simultaneously on their phone. This video dual-screening tendency is evident across all markets measured, with the exception of Japan.

“The popularity of digital video is evident across small screens the world over,” said Anna Bager, Senior Vice President Mobile and Video, IAB, and General Manager of the IAB Digital Video and Mobile Marketing Centers of Excellence. “The fact that people are not only watching short snippets of programming, but committing to longer form content on their phones, opens doors for brands to be part of this impressive mobile engagement. However, the findings are that viewers around the world are now video dual screening while watching TV, points to an emerging challenge for marketers:  How do you grab a viewer’s attention when it’s divided between two simultaneous video feeds?”

Across the 24 countries in the survey, there are several common ways that mobile video viewers discover digital video to view on their phones, including:

·         YouTube (62%)

·         Social media platforms (33%)

·         Search results (20%)

·         Advertising (14%)

When looking for mobile video to watch, advertising has even more influence in the U.S. (22%) and Canada (18%).

Apps are the main method for viewing mobile video in each of the markets studied. Nearly half of respondents overall (48%) said that they “only” or “mostly” leverage mobile apps to stream video on their phones, with the UK (63%), Brazil (60%), and Turkey (58%) leading the trend.  By contrast, across the survey sample only 18% said they “only” or “mostly” use mobile websites to view video.

More than a quarter (28%) of viewers across the participating countries said that they often see ads on mobile video that they’ve already seen on TV. Numbers climb higher in France (38%), Turkey (36%), Finland (35%) and the U.S. (35%). But, marketers might be missing out with this approach – since 80 percent or more of consumers in most markets expressed interest in any kind of tailored ad versus “I prefer no tailoring of ads at all.” The findings point to the importance of ads being relevant to the content of the video being watched, but also show viewing history being a significant factor, especially in the U.S. and Canada.

“Audiences around the world are overwhelmingly open to mobile video advertisements that relate to their context and viewing patterns,” said Joe Laszlo, Senior Director, IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence. “Clearly, this is a real boon to global marketers that want to ensure they reach the audience segments most likely to be interested in their products or services.”

In addition to advertising, the study shows that there is potential for mobile video monetisation through subscription and pay-on-demand models. In several markets, viewers already demonstrate a willingness to pay for video content that is streamed to phones:

·         China (33%)

·         U.K. (25%)

·         Canada (23%)

·         U.S. (23%)

·         Australia (21%)

Still, there are barriers to overcome for further success in pay-for models – and much need to grow mobile video advertising revenue.  Seventy-eight percent of respondents overall stated that they would rather have free mobile video supported by ads.

Arts and Entertainment

Deezer to host Hotstix’s Mandela tribute playlist

Deezer is celebrating Nelson Mandela on the centenary of his birthday by hosting a tribute playlist created by music legend Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.  

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Mabuse, a legendary figure in African music, first rose to prominence in the 1970s with his band Harari and later developed a name for himself as a solo artist. One of his best known songs was the global hit BurnOut in the 1980s.

The playlist takes the listener on a captivating musical journey through the life of Nelson Mandela.  It was compiled by Mabuse, who consulted with Mandela’s family and friends to ensure that the music would be relevant and accurate. The playlist also features commentary by Mabuse, which was recorded in his Soweto home.  

“I have tried to tell the story of the music that Madiba loved,” says Mabuse. “The Playlist excludes the time in prison obviously, as Madiba would not have had exposure to music in that time.  We have focused on the music we know he loved before and after that period. This recording was really an emotional journey for me, but an incredible opportunity to document these memories.”

The playlist features the music the young Mandela loved, such as The Manhattan Brothers, Solomon Linda, Brenda Fassie and Miriam Makeba.  It includes struggle songs from Chicco, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela and Yvonne Chaka Chaka.  The playlist also includes Mandela by Zahara, one of the younger artists who caught Madiba’s ear.

Mabuse also offers stories of his own songs, such as Shikisha, a song greatly beloved by the former President.

“I was delighted to share my thoughts and hope the listeners enjoyed the musical journey,” says Mabuse. “Madiba did enjoy music immensely and we all have a purpose wherever we are in the world to celebrate culture and to learn from different cultures and music forms and styles.”

This playlist was inspired by the Nelson Mandela 100 campaign, calling on corporates and individuals to act as sources of inspiration and engage in conversation and action.

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Sports streaming takes off

Live streaming of sports is coming of age as a mainstream method of viewing big games, as the latest FIFA World Cup figures from the UK show. Africa isn’t yet at the same level when it comes to the adoption of sports streaming, but usage is clearly moving in the right direction.

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England’s World Cup quarter-final against Sweden was watched by just under 20 million viewers in the UK via BBC One. While this traditional broadcast audience was huge, it was streaming that broke records: the game was the BBC’s most popular online-viewed live programme ever, with 3.8 million views. In Africa, the absolute numbers are lower but the trend towards streaming major sports events on the continent is also well under way.

According to DStv, live streaming of sports dominates the usage figures for its live and recorded TV streaming app, DStv Now. The number of people using the app in June was five times higher than a year ago, with concurrent views peaking during major football and rugby games.

Since the start of the World Cup, average weekday usage of DStv Now is up 60%. The absolute peak in concurrent usage for one event was reached on 26 June, during the Nigeria vs Argentina game. The app’s biggest ever test was on 16 June with both Springbok Rugby and World Cup Football under way at the same time, resulting in concurrent in-app views seven times higher than the peaks seen in June last year.

The World Cup has also been a major reason for new users to download and try out the app. First-time app user volumes have tripled on Android and doubled on iOS since the start of the tournament.

“While we expected live sports streaming to take off, it’s also been pleasing to see that the app is really popular for watching shows on Catch Up,” says MultiChoice South Africa Chief Operating Officer Mark Rayner. “Interestingly, some of the most popular Catch Up shows are local, with Isibaya, Binnelanders, The Queen and The River all getting a significant number of views.”

With respect to app usage, the web and Android apps are the most popular way to watch DStv Now, with Android outpacing iOS by a factor of 2:1.

“We’re continuing to develop DStv Now, with 4k streaming in testing and smart TV and Apple TV apps on their way shortly,” says Rayner. “The other key priority for us is working with the telcos to deliver mobile data propositions that make watching online painless and worry-free for our customers.”

The DStv Now app is free to all 10 million DStv customers in Africa. The app streams DStv live channels as well as supplying an extended Catch Up library. Two separate streams can be watched on different devices simultaneously, and content can also be downloaded to smartphones and tablets. The content available on the app varies according to the DStv package subscribed to.

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