Video is an increasingly pervasive theme at Mobile World Congress (MWC). Considering that mobile video consumption is is rising so dramatically, this is hardly a surprise. According to Cisco’s latest report, mobile video traffic accounted for 60% of all mobile data traffic in 2016. This is set to rise further, with Cisco anticipating three quarters of the world’s mobile data traffic to be video by 2021.

With more providers realising that a big part of that viewing is happening on mobile devices, we are beginning to see content being adapted to better suit a smaller screen. Just as we have seen with mobile-friendly websites, this is likely to be an important factor for content providers, ensuring viewers can get a similar viewing experience by adapting that content. From a content provider’s point of view this means a need for even more versions and managing these effectively, ensuring the right version is delivered to the right platform, will become even more crucial.

What we are also witnessing is an increase in the use of mobile devices for content discovery, not just consumption. Quite often the downfall of Smart TV Video-On-Demand (VOD) apps is the user experience and discovery of content. Flicking through masses of different video choices using a remote control can be cumbersome and frustrating. Many consumers are instead turning to companion apps that allow them to flick through the content on their mobile device. Once they find the right content, they can simply select it and watch if start playing on the TV. Essentially, it all comes back to the user experience. Content providers need to make it as easy and natural as possible for consumers to both discover and consume the videos they want to watch. Mobile devices are key to enabling that.

With all the excitement and ambition around Virtual Reality (VR), mobile is also playing an important role, providing VR-style content to a much wider audience. There is no denying that watching a film or perhaps a football match with a virtual reality headset on is pretty cool, at least in principle. However, is it cool enough to warrant buying an expensive headset, especially as there is currently simply not much content out there yet? However, grab your mobile and watch in 360 and you can still get some of that same functionality and feeling, without the need to buy additional expensive hardware. OK, it’s not quite the same, but mobile 360 viewing has already proven to be a key driver for more VR content, as viewing that same content on a mobile device is achievable for the masses. According to ABI Research, mobile VR has built a solid foundation for the overall market. As more VR content becomes available, that may well in turn drive sales of VR headsets of course. Indeed, ABI Research comments that standalone VR devices will eventually be what drives the VR industry, with shipments expected to reach 110 million by 2021.  In the next five years, the number of standalone VR devices is likely to equal that of mobile VR.  Yet, it is clear that mobile has had, and will continue to have an important role to play for VR and we are beginning to see some compelling content emerge, thanks largely to the consumption of VR on mobile devices.

With all that in mind I look forward to joining the Accedo team and heading to MWC next week. I’m especially interested in seeing mobile video taking centre stage, as well as seeing the multitude of mobile innovations that will make video consumption and discovery on mobile devices even better.

To find out how to make mobile a part of your video strategy, get in touch to meet us there.