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The rise and rise of online video

Plus how mobile internet usage could outstrip desktop in under four years

Yesterday I attended a conference called "The Future of Digital Media Convergence" hosted by analyst firm Screen Digest - not massively focused on the videogames industry, but interesting to note how other media industries which has increasing touch points and/or crossovers are developing.

Among some of the more interesting statistics was a snapshot from Brightcove CEO Jeremy Allaire on the rise of online video proliferation - as well as a prediction of the dramatic increase of general internet consumption on mobile devices.

Here are some of the salient points:

  • Online video now accounts for 51 per cent of total data traffic on the internet
  • YouTube is the single largest consumer provider, but Facebook has now hit the top five with its proprietary video platform
  • Revenue from online video is estimated to hit $4.1 billion by 2013 (it's around $1.3 billion today) - and it's currently the fastest-growing sector in the entire advertising industry
  • 60 per cent of marketeers plan to increase online video ad spend in the coming year
  • Social networks (Facebook and Twitter) are the fastest-growing video sources on the internet; but they also have the highest average viewing times, likely thanks to content from friends being more trusted

Meanwhile, in the US, ComScore is predicting that general internet usage on mobile platforms will exceed desktop figures within four years, says Allaire - while both are set to rise, this means that we'll have seen an effective doubling of usage in the space of around 7-8 years or so.

And broadcasters see this as a key opportunity, with UK Channel Five (a partner of Brightcove) shortly to launch its own content within the Facebook environment in a move that provides for "where users are, not where you want them to be".

Screen Digest chief analyst Ben Keen added that games consoles have really been the driving force for OTT (Over-The-Top) video provision (as opposed to specific IPTV solutions) to-date - thanks largely to the likes of the iPlayer, Sky Player, Zune, Netflix and more appearing on those platforms.

Finally, UK broadcaster Virgin Media admitted that is was already in "active discussions with several games companies" with respect to the opportunities available for games on its own services. No more detail on the types of games (core, casual, etc) was forthcoming, but watch this space.

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Phil Elliott