Eighty percent of mobile video consumed on iOS devices

May 24, 2011
Tech

One of the major drawbacks of Apple’s iOS platform, fans of Google’s Android will tell you, is the lack of ability to play Flash videos on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. For a while, many websites on the Internet included some kind of interaction with Flash technology, and so it seemed crazy that Apple […]

One of the major drawbacks of Apple’s iOS platform, fans of Google’s Android will tell you, is the lack of ability to play Flash videos on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

For a while, many websites on the Internet included some kind of interaction with Flash technology, and so it seemed crazy that Apple (AAPL) was denying users access to all that content by not making nice with Adobe (ADBE) and finding a way to support the software. Apple CEO Steve Jobs claimed Flash was too battery intensive, and that supporting it would cost iOS devices their long battery life.

But almost three years after the release of the iPhone, it appears that Flash isn’t such a big deal. Despite the fact that Google’s (GOOG) Android devices support the video technology, about 80 percent of mobile video consumption is being done on iOS devices, Flash-free.

That’s according to a report from video monetization startup FreeWheel, published in a story from GigaOM. FreeWheel says that iPhones and iPod Touches each make up 30 percent of the mobile viewing pie (they even have a pie graph to show it), while the iPad accounts for another 20 percent and Android devices for about the last 20 percent. Less than 1 percent of mobile video is consumed on other devices.

It’s important to note that when it comes to video, mobile still isn’t the preferred means for most people and so consumption isn’t nearly as high as it is on personal computers, for example. In fact, mobile video makes up only about 1 percent of total online video consumption, the report says. But it’s a growing market, and one that Apple really has capitalized on, regardless of skipping Flash.

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FreeWheel pegs Apple’s success on two causes: first, Apple got an early lead in mobile video and so people have had much more time to get used to the idea of using Apple’s small-scale devices to watch things they’d traditionally turn to a TV screen or monitor to view. Second, that early lead translated into an much larger viewership than other devices had early on, and that has drawn app developers to the platform – which, in turn, snowballs into greater viewership.

Indeed, mobile video apps are appearing on the iPhone and iPad in droves, likely drawn by the success of streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Both services have iOS apps that allow users to watch video over an Internet connection, and both work exceedingly well in most circumstances. Recently we’ve also seen other companies adding streaming video apps: HBO just released HBO Go for its subscribers, Time Warner just updated its TWCable TV iPad app, and Comcast recently added On Demand service to its XFINITY TV iPhone and iPod Touch app.

Probably the most interesting development is that the iPad accounts for 20 percent of mobile video views with only 20 million tablets in users’ hands. TV and cable companies alike have scrambled to provide content for the platform, which suggests it really is a pretty great means of consuming video.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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