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CTIA Panelists: Mobile Video Surging

Las Vegas – Video-streaming accounts for the majority of mobile-data usage worldwide, and video-content providers such as Hulu and ESPN view streaming to mobile devices as an increasingly important part of their business models, industry executives said during a keynote sessions at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week.

Dan Mead, Verizon Wireless president/CEO, said video accounts for 53 percent of global cellular-data traffic, driven by 4G LTE’s speed and low latency and by the growing size of smartphones screens.

Michael Combes, CEO of infrastructure supplier Alcatel-Lucent, said the industry is “entering a video-first world” that requires carriers to “completely rebuild the network” with such technologies as small cells, one-to many LTE Broadcast technology, and other enhancements. Networks will be able to keep up with the video explosion, he said, as long as the technologies in the industry’s roadmap are “properly implemented.”

Tim Connolly, Hulu’s head of distribution and strategic partnerships, said mobile devices account for 20 percent of Hulu’s 500 million video views per month and that about 50 percent of total subscribers use a mobile device to view Hulu every month.

Hulu, however, has “not scratched the surface” of using mobile devices as a complementary device for home video viewing on a TV. “It’s not easy to figure out what consumers want to surface while watching the big TV [at home],” he said. Content that could surface on the second screen includes information on the TV shows being watched as well as more information about the ads appearing on the shows.

For his part, ESPN sales and marketing EVP Sean Bratches said that mobile devices are “creating more consumer touchpoints for our brand.” Primetime for desktop consumption of ESPN content is weekdays at work, while primetime for smartphones tends to be on weekends, he said. Tablet viewing is done mainly in the home with longer video views compared to smartphones and PCs, he said.