Chinese mobile video consumers spend more time watching videos on smartphones than other connected devices, including connected TVs and computers.

A strong willingness to pay for video content was also exhibited due to an increasing lack of free content in China, which authors of the research, Chinese Mobile Video Consumers: Longer-Length Content Watched on Smartphone, at Strategy Analytics have said opens the door for exclusive, pre-loaded video services on smartphones for the region.

Chris schreiner strategy analytics

Chris Schreiner 

Chris Schreiner, Director of Syndicated Research at user experience innovation practice (UXIP) at Strategy Analytics, commented: “An important behavioural and attitudinal change of mobile video consumers in China in 2016 was that they were much more willing to pay a subscription fee for video content.

”Moreover, some consumers have already been paying for multiple video services to watch desired content, which reveals a new opportunity for hardware manufacturers to seek closer cooperation with video service providers.”

Schreiner stated: “Video content usage in China is largely done while out and about, in bed, or during the daily commute. Average commuting times in cities like Beijing and Shanghai are approaching an hour, and those that drive often are stuck motionless in traffic jams. That alone provides greater daily opportunity to consume longer content.

”In addition, Chinese consumers have a tendency to enjoy larger screen devices, and having a bigger display provides a better viewing experience resulting in greater motivation to consume mobile content.”

Long commutes

On why this is happening in China and not elsewhere, he added: “Elsewhere [globally], particularly where commute times are lower, consumers tend to view shorter content.

”Longer content on a smartphone or other mobile device is more likely to be viewed when there is excessive time to kill, and use cases where that may occur regularly in other regions is not as prevalent as it is in China.”

Movies and variety shows

Surveying consumers in China, Strategy Analytics has found that the type of content watched on a smartphone by Chinese consumers is becoming similar to what they used to only watch on devices with a larger display including movies, TV series and variety shows.

As the time spent on video being viewed on a smartphone is likely to keep increasing in China, the mobile video viewing experience will become more important and the ability to fulfil consumers’ changing needs of mobile video viewing will be vital.

As to the opportunity and challenge this viewing behaviour presents mobile operators and content providers, Schreiner said: “For mobile operators, longer content usage provides an opportunity to have more customers sign up for more expensive data packages.

”However one challenge in China is that a greater percentage of such content is side-loaded instead of streamed than in other regions.

“Content providers have an opportunity to deliver and gain additional advertising revenue from longer content. However, there is still a lot of free and pirated content that is being consumed. Also, usage of mobile video content is more fragmented, requiring content providers to ensure that they are targeting the appropriate consumers for the length of content being delivered,” he concluded.