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The Mobile Online Viewing Trend is Disrupting Pay-TV

As excitement builds for the upcoming Mobile World Congress next week, an explosion of mobile internet applications -- as an example, online video entertainment consumption -- will be a key topic for discussion at the event proceedings.

Despite continued growth of online video viewing on connected consumer electronics (CE) devices and expanding platform options -- such as Google Chromecast and new consoles from Microsoft and Sony -- annual increases in mobile online viewing (via tablets and smartphones) are higher than any other category.

Worldwide mobile views already constitute over 20 percent of the total in 2013, and this share will continue to grow -- more than doubling during the five year forecast window, according to the latest market study by ABI Research.

Pay-TV services will continue to serve as the primary video entertainment solution for many people, but overall time spent watching OTT online video is expected to pass 21 hours per month by 2019 -- that's up from 12.7 hours in 2013 (worldwide average among online video viewers).

Notebook personal computers, however, will remain relevant as many expect these devices to continue serving as the primary viewing device during the workday hours -- while media tablets secure the most views in the evening.

Connected CE tends to see more traffic in the early evening when families often share viewing time. The implications are significant for the legacy television program consumption model, because this on-demand OTT video viewing replaces traditional linear or DVR TV viewing.

"Along with time of day, video content also plays a critical role in the type of devices consumers use to watch online video. Short form video, for instance, is quickly becoming the domain of mobile devices," said Sam Rosen, practice director at ABI Research.

For connected CE it's less about failing to compete with mobile, than it is a reflection of consumer lifestyles and how it dictates which devices are used and when.

Mobile viewing also creates additional touch-points which can greatly increase the number of content plays per household -- be it multiple household members each watching on mobile screens, or multitasking while sitting in front of the TV screen.

In addition, as pay-TV services continue to extend the reach of multi-screen services we expect more content, like live sporting events, to play an increasing role on mobile devices.

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