THE BLOG

Shortcast 2: How Digital Video Content Has Become a Daily Habit

01/04/2014 14:08 BST | Updated 01/06/2014 10:59 BST

Over 81% of us own at least one mobile device - if not two, or more. This has led to a marked increase in video consumption, representing a great opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in a visually inspiring and creative way.

Video is a core part of our content offering at Yahoo and we wanted to delve deeper into consumers' changing viewing habits. Back in 2010 we conducted an award-winning UK study into shortform video content and advertising called Shortcast. A lot has changed in four years and our latest piece of video research, Shortcast 2, sheds new light on the landscape from a consumer perspective.

Notably we found that video has become a daily habit, with 18million people in the UK watching video daily on their devices. Watching video has become a portable experience and comScore videometrix shows that digital video consumption averages 41 minutes a day in the UK, with around 332 million videos played every day in the UK.

Better quality content, increased bandwidth and the breadth of videos available are all key drivers when it comes to video uptake on devices. The most important factor in deciding what to watch is still ultimately a content decision. In our experience, Yahoo users respond well to 'evergreen' video around genres such as current affairs issues, comedy and entertainment. We've invested in original content for Yahoo Screen which has really chimed with our users.

The fact that people carry their devices with them means that consumers now watch online video content at all hours of the day, generally fitting in with the rhythm of daily life, so there is a bigger spike in the evening. We're also seeing video watched later into the evening, as people even bring their devices to bed with them, watching later and longer. Quite literally and surprisingly for those who talk about cannibalization between media - mobile devices have meant we've found more hours in the day to consume content.

This year we will experience something called 'crossover', where essentially there will be more users going online via their devices than on desktop. On Yahoo platforms we're expecting to see that happen in the latter half of this year. As reach on devices increases, video consumption naturally will do even further, leading to more commercial opportunities around video inventory.

It is unsurprising that the younger Gen Zs or Millennials are driving much of this shift, and therefore this global study really honed in on their video viewing habits because we know that as digital natives, they have a different relationship with media. For example, 22% of Gen Zs say they never watch live TV - it is lower down their media hierarchy and indicative of how this audience will engage with TV in the future. The announcement that the BBC's youth skewing channel BBC3 is to go online only is a telling move.

For the Gen Z generation it's all about short form snackable content, with 62% of video content consumed daily of the short form variety. This is made up of 30% UGC content and 32% other shortform content. The remaining 38% of longform content consumed daily is higher than we found in other markets, due to the healthy longform video market in the UK, driven by the uptake in VOD services such as BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Live stream events also work really well online for the Gen Z audience - last year the exclusive live stream of the London Premiere of "One Direction: This Is Us" on Yahoo was streamed live over 1.5million times by users around the world on the night and almost double that on demand.

It is important to note that in consumers' minds short form does not equate to low quality and quality content is what consumers want. Whether its brand created content or UGC, there is a higher expectation amongst consumers for a quality experience, whether the content is minutes in length or even seconds. A great example is Fox's 6 seconds trailer for The Wolverine on Vine, a captivating piece of quality content which packs a whole lot of action into a short clip.

All of this is great news for brands - whether it's branded video content, viral videos for social media activity or engaging original content, consumers are clearly clamouring for more. Quality and shareablity are key factors and as device penetration continues its upward trajectory, the opportunities are immense.

Patrick Hourihan will be speaking at Ad Week Europe on Tuesday 1st April at 12.00pm in News Room Studio A, BAFTA about 'Shortcast 2: How digital video content has become a daily habit'