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Mobilize Your Online Video

So you’ve been thinking about mobilizing your online video. But you’re wondering how many people really watch videos on their phones, right? Great question.

In a recent mobile video study, the Nielsen Company found that the number of Americans watching mobile video rose to 25 million people–representing a 41 percent increase in viewers from 2009 to 2010. The heaviest usage came from teens aged 12 to 17, who watch an average of 7 hours 13 minutes of mobile video a month.

The growth of mobile video is due to the rising popularity of smartphones like the iPhone and Android. From 2009 to 2010, the percentage of mobile phone users with smartphones grew from 23 to 31 percent. And in that time, the study found, it also became much easier to find, view and share mobile video via mobile apps or the mobile web.

So it’s becoming increasingly important to make your online vids mobile friendly.

There are only a handful of commonly used formats for mobile video, all highly compressed in order to create tiny file sizes that download and stream easily on a cellphone screen. They are:

  • 3GP/3G2 – the most common, typically the file type of vids recorded directly on your cellphone
  • Flash Lite – a streamlined version of Flash
  • MPEG-4 – a common online video platform that, given the small file size, tends to work well on cellphones

Now for the technical mumbo jumbo. There are tons of mobile video converters out there that will convert your vid to any mobile format you want. But smart, savvy, smartphone users tend to want their videos to play smoothly—so you’ll have to consider the Real Time Streaming Protocol, or RSTP, and Real Time Transport Protocol, or RTP, that control the actual streaming of the video.

If you use any kind of mobile distribution service–like QuickPlay or Qik— they’ll handle the technical aspects of RTP/RSTP (for the serious business user, your best bet is QuickPlay). But you also have to take into consideration the devices your video will play on (here’s a list of mobile video file formats supported by Sony, Nokia and Motorola phones).

If you host your vids on YouTube, mobilizing them is as easy as a click of a button. Go to your video settings under the ‘Syndication’ tab, and select the radio button for ‘Yes, make this video available on mobile phones and TV’. Keep in mind that some devices still won’t be able to view the vid due to copyright or licensing issues. Vids hosted on Wistia are also iPhone compatible and configured for live streaming.

Mobile video not for the faint of heart?

Well rest assured that online video viewing still continues to rise, with 143.9 million Americans viewing video online in January 2011. As great as mobile viewing is, it’s only a (growing) fraction of the numbers of people watching vids online.

And given that the percentage of users watching mobile video declines with a rise in age, the users who could most likely afford the products or services marketed via your mobile video are less likely to be watching. That said if your target audience is a younger demographic, then mobile video is definitely the way to go.

What’s your target audience? Can you use mobile video to grow your business?

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Written by Iquo Essien
Iquo is a Demo Duck blog contributor and a professional writer.