The global growth of online video vs. mobile video

October 20, 2008

I spend most of my time analyzing online video in the US (all of my datapoints on my FAQ are US only as well). But I get a lot of questions from clients around the world who share with me their anecdotal experiences, including juicy bits like:

  • In Spain, online video is spiking, driven largely by illegal downloading because there’s very little available through legitimate channels.
  • In European markets, even if they are next door neighbors, the behavior differs dramatically based on how much local-interest content has been cleared for online distribution.
  • English-speaking markets like Australia and Canada are less and less willing to wait for legal access to consumer American media. When Heroes hits the Web in the US, it gets picked up via BitTorrent in the rest of the English-speaking world. 
  • In Japan and Korea, online video is growing like gangbusters, in addition to high mobile video adoption.

This last one caused me to do some thinking because both mobile and online are growing at the same time. This is part of a bigger question, namely: Does online video ultimately compete with other video channels or complement them?

It’s a question that I have blogged about before when it came up among a panel of online TV giants in the US, but there hasn’t been a need to consider online video compared to mobile video, which is very immature in the US. However, globally, there are markets with a third or more of mobile users watching mobile video. 

I know from another global analysis that I did that when people in a country listen to music via their mobile phones, that listening competes with online music streaming. If one goes up, the other goes down. It was a comparison of 15 different countries where Forrester collects data (it is so cool to work here, imagine having that data at your fingertips). 

Nervously, I replicated the analysis for mobile video vs. online video streaming, and, wanna guess? They don’t compete. In fact, they correlate strongly (correlation coefficient: .57, end of nerd moment). This is the unique role of video in people’s lives. This is why OmniVideo is going to happen: more video, through more devices, in more places and times. Because we want more of it. Open the pipe and more will flow through.

Cool, huh? What’s your experience with video — either mobile or online — globally? Seeing some cool things? Feel free to share.