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Attention Spans For Mobile Video May be Longer Than Some Data Suggests

The past two years have seen an increase in innovative, ultra-short-form streaming of mobile video content created specifically for smartphone users. But the thinking behind that development may be based on data now being challenged.

True, major brands have begun to embrace the six-second clip format pioneered by Twitter’s TWTR Vine. Time Warner Cable’s (TWC) Cartoon Network cited 2012 data from Adobe ADBE that found people use smartphones for “content snacking” to watch “short segments of news, weather and sports.” In response, it launched a network of 15-second original bite-sized shows. Studies report that children and teens have shorter attention spans, and consequently, micro-content targeted towards younger demographics could proliferate.

Now new research by Ooyala, however, argues that Adobe’s report may not be accurate. In fact its research reaches the opposite conclusion: long-form video is gaining popularity across all devices.  Among its findings, 53% of the time users were watching mobile video longer than 30 minutes. With sports, 62% of the time viewers were watching content longer than 10 minutes, often staying connected for longer periods to view highlights and game recaps.

The revelation that long-form content commonly associated with TV dominates mobile video viewing is both eye-opening and counter-intuitive. As smartphone screen sizes increase, reportedly Apple AAPL is planning both 4.7” and 5.5” screens for the iPhone 6 this fall, we may see those viewership numbers rise even higher.


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