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Size matters: 48 percent of tablet viewing time is spent watching long-form video




Browse Google and you’ll find article after article blaming MTV for the decrease in the American attention span. Instead of watching a single, 60 minute TV show, you’d see 15 to 20 pieces of content, each under 3 minutes. Don’t like what you see on screen? Hang on a minute and something new will take its place.

YouTube is like that, only you don’t have to wait for the video to end, just click, click, click and you can experience 10 programs in just a few minutes. But according to a the Q1 2014 Global Video Index from Ooyala, the attention span of your average video viewer is getting longer and longer.

ooyala Long-form video

The majority of viewed videos are still under 10 minutes long, but look at tablets. These viewers spend 48% of their overall viewing time watching videos of 30 minutes or more. And it’s not just about screen-size. We all understand people watching long-form video on a connected TV but desktop users – with their large monitors – prefer short videos to long ones.

What it’s actually about, is comfort. Like the connected TV, tablets are a part of couch mode. You can bring your laptop or your smartphone to the couch, but in this age of the tablet, it’s much more likely that you’ll settle in with Game of Thrones on the HBO GO tablet app than on your phone.

This is good news if you’re in the webseries or TV production biz but what about your average, online marketer? (Yes, I’m talking to you.)

I have good news for you, too. “Tablet viewers spent more than three quarters of their time (77 percent) watching videos of at least ten minutes in length.” This is completely true for me. I often use the YouTube filter to screen out videos under 3 minutes because I want a longer, more informative experience. I don’t want the 3 minute craft project overview, I want to watch the step-by-step demo, even if it takes an hour. My favorite online crafter often uploads four or more half hour segments on one project and I dutifully watch them all.

Would I watch these videos on my computer? No. Too uncomfortable. On my smartphone? No. Too small. TV? Nope, busy watching regular TV show on there. Tablet? Just right.

And we’re not counting smartphone viewers out. Ooyala says that 57% of smartphone video views are over 10 minutes long.

The takeaway here is that it’s time to expand your video repertoire. Go ahead and make those short, punchy videos for the quick browser. But also include longer, more informative videos for you loyal customers. Show them how to use your products. Tell a story. Make them laugh. Think beyond the quick flip of a catalog page. If your company was a TV show, what would it look like? Don’t be afraid to get personal. Show off your space and your employees. Is your web designer an amateur magician? Put him on camera and make the competition disappear!

Now is not the time to be ordinary. Create something fun and informative and viewers will not only tune in, they’ll stick around and buy from your company afterwards.

Let’s get long.