3 Surprising Trends in Mobile Video from CNN, Weather Channel, and the Atlanta Braves

The Wireless Technology Forum assembled a diverse panel of 6 mobile video experts on Thursday, June 15, 2017 including CNN, Weather Channel, OTT providers (NewsOn), B2B mobile video platforms, and for the first time in Wireless Forum history, the Atlanta Braves. Experts shared their insights and current trends in mobile video, some of which were a bit surprising. Cisco has been predicting since 2008 that mobile video would eat up most of the 4G bandwidth before 4G was even launched. Consumers have attempted to watch mobile video before the content providers could figure out encoding, bit rates, and delivery platforms to mobile devices. Massive adoption of mobile video has been one of the most unsurprising outcomes of the smartphone revolution, but the current trends in mobile video behavior may surprise you. I'll start with the least surprising trend, personalization.

1. Personalization

Two weeks ago, I posted about my shopping trip to the Amazon Bookstore in Chicago and how difficult it would be to replicate the online experience by having the store associates to rearrange the physical books on the bookshelf before each customer entered the store. Personalization has long been a tenant of internet engagement. James Prolizo, CNN, pointed out how a few years ago many brands launched "my[brandnamehere] platforms for users to personalize their content. The "MY" is but a distant memory today. Consumers expect personalization on the brand platform not on the "MY" version.

Peter Chau, The Weather Channel pointed out that 30% of Amazon's revenue comes from 'Recommendations' and 80% of Netflix views are 'Recommended' content. The Weather Channel and CNN are working hard on providing personalized content to their users. The Weather Channel is using demographic and geographic information to present personalized content. They are creating algorithms that show stay-at-home moms in the Midwest what other stay-at-home moms in the Midwest are watching. #CatVideos

2. More uploads than downloads at sporting events

There's no debate that sporting events have always been real-time, up to the moment updates. What you may not know is that attendees of sporting events are uploading more than they are downloading. When there's a lull in the game, I'm usually checking my phone to see what is going on; what I didn't realize is that I'm using more bandwidth uploading photos and videos of my experience while in the ballpark. Greg Mize, Atlanta Braves shared this upload vs. download phenomenon at the new SunTrust park that just opened this year. I've already visited SunTrust park 4 times (at least according to my Instagram feed).

Speaking of real-time feeds, due to cord-cutting, ESPN has lost 7 million subscribers between 2013-2015. Greg Mize, Atlanta Braves, pointed out that highlight shows aren't relevant anymore, since consumers are not receiving notifications on their smartphones moments after it happens.

3. Linear is still King

Have we stopped watching TVs in favor of our tablets? Not by a long shot. Cord-cutting might be a growing trend, but folks are finding ways to watch TV without the big cable bills with OTT (Over The Top) boxes such as Roku and Apple TV.

James Prolizo, CNN, reported that only 20% of CNN video is consumed on mobile. Louis Gump, NewsOn, cited a Nielson report that states 82% of news is still watched in linear TV + 10% on an OTT device on a TV. That makes 92% of all news watched on a TV.

Peter Chau, The Weather Channel, has seen a big shift in desktop vs. mobile video consumption from 70% on desktop (30% mobile video), to today at 70% mobile video (30% desktop). Greg Mize disclosed a 55% to 45% mobile to desktop ratio of video consumption for the Atlanta Braves.

There are now more OTT options for cord-cutters including the a-la-carte channel offering from Dish for $34.99/month, and the $20/month Sling offering over Roku or Chromecast. BTW: Dish owns Sling so they're not competitors.

Brands that want to stay relevant are prioritizing mobile video first. James Prolizo made the statement that CNN was fully engaged in promoting CNNon and the CNN mobile app.

At Digital Summit Atlanta last month, Jason Dailey, Facebook fully disclosed that Facebook has clearly prioritized video and especially live video as top priority. Mobile video is here to stay with the growing availability of bandwidth 4G and/or ubiquitous Wifi as a key enabler. Below are a few images from Jason Dailey's presentation at Digital Summit Atlanta.