Facebook Is Overtaking YouTube for Live Mobile Video Streaming

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In emerging markets, Facebook serves more mobile live video streams than does YouTube. In developed markets, the two are about even. This data comes from the 2018 Mobile Video Index (MVI) created by Openwave Mobility, which provides mobile management and monetization solutions. Openwave calls Facebook's surge "a direct and credible assault on YouTube."

The MVI's data comes from analysis of live video traffic for over 30 mobile operators.

Mobile video viewing is surging, but there are still problems to be conquered, the report says. The average buffer time is high at 7.2 seconds. Openwave suggests providers make that a priority, as consumers typically tolerate only 6 seconds of buffering before abandoning a video. When consumers experience poor quality, they blame the operator. Western European consumers prefer watching videos in standard definition rather than high definition even when they have large mobile devices with high-resolution screens, because they don't want to put up with buffering.

This could turn into an opportunity, as Openwave says consumers are willing to pay more for improved quality. In Europe, for example, consumers would pay an extra €7.50 per month if buffering was dropped down to two seconds.

“Inspired by operators such as T-Mobile in the U.S., research shows that zero-rating and unlimited data plans significantly increase video engagement time," notes Gorkem Yigit, lead analyst at Analysis Mason, who examined video monetization strategies for this report. "With the right traffic management techniques, operators can contain network costs and launch viable pricing models and deliver a differentiated QoE."

Download the full Mobile Video Index for free (registration required).

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