Mobile content consumption is on the rise, and online video is a big part of this, driven by the propagation of smarter mobile devices, Wi-Fi, as well as faster and more affordable 3G data plans. Morgan Stanley found that video already accounts for 69% of mobile data traffic globally.

According to analyst firm Telsyte, nearly 90% of all mobile phone users in Australia will have a smartphone as their primary device in 2015, up from just under 50% in 2011. That equates to 18.5 million smartphone users.

This profound shift poses new challenges to brand marketers – how can you use the mobile channel to engage with customers and prospects, while achieving a consistent viewing experience across all device types?

Apple versus Android

Smartphones are gaining momentum, but the market is fragmented. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms are neck-to-neck in Australia. According to Kantar, in August 2011 Android held 42.9% of Australian market share, while iOS held 37.2%.

This duopoly was also being reflected in the Brightcove / TubeMogul Q1-Q2 2011 online video industry trend report, which found that nearly half the amount of total minutes mobile videos are being viewed came from Android devices (49%); iPhone and iPad devices combined held 48%.

Every new product release – say the iPhone 4S or Samsung Galaxy S – can be a game-changer. This puts marketers under enormous pressure to support at least the two leading mobile operating systems if they want to maximise the impact of their video campaign. The problem is that Android supports Flash and the iPhone and iPad only support HTML5 video.

HTML5 – facts & fiction

HTML5 is an emerging standard for presenting content on the Web. The rise of mobile video consumption and the introduction of the iPad and other connected devices in the past year have thrust HTML5 into the spotlight. While this is a positive development for the industry, the issue of ensuring consistent experiences across devices, browsers, and operating systems remains a concern for many publishers.

So why should you bother with HTML5 at this point? If you care at all about giving mobile users a quality Web browsing experience similar to what they would find on a desktop then you must consider supporting HTML5 video. Some might take the approach of delivering video through proprietary mobile apps, but developing apps for multiple mobile platforms can be just as complex as building sites with fallback plans for different standards requirements. In particular, HTML5 video is essential if you hope to reach consumers browsing on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Future-proof your video investment

In many ways, HTML5 is today where Flash video was ten years ago. All of the third-party integration and broad-based feature support that made Flash robust and allowed online video to take off are only just beginning to emerge for the HTML5 standard. While it is still early days, there will undoubtedly be a similar ecosystem of innovation and support to emerge around the HTML5 standard in the future.

At the same time, Android’s growing popularity and impressive user engagement leaves marketers with no choice but to adopt a dual approach that supports both platforms and thus creates a consistent viewing experience across the majority of mobile devices commonly used to access video content.

Software such as Brightcove’s Video Cloud Smart Players are designed to help meet these challenges, and automatically detect if the mobile device supports Flash or HTML5 video. The advantage is that you don’t have to create and manage separate players for each viewer environment, and you can still get a head start today with a HTML5 strategy to take advantage of the ecosystem innovations as they come online.

 

BY ON 16 November 2011