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Online video viewers watching longer on tablets

Tablet users averaged 30 percent more viewing time than desktop users and were more engaged, according to a recent study.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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Steven Musil
2 min read
Online viewer engagement rates. Ooyala

As many consumers hungrily await the release of Amazon's Kindle Fire, there is evidence that tablets may be reshaping online viewing habits.

Tablet users averaged 30 percent more viewing time per session compared with desktops, according to data released this week by Ooyala, a provider of video services to major brands. Tablet users also tended to be more engaged, finishing videos at nearly twice the rate as desktop users.

For each minute of video watched on a desktop, tablet users watched for one minute 17 seconds, an average of 28 percent longer than desktop viewing. Video completion rates on tablets were also 30 percent higher than non-tablet mobile devices.

While online viewers were more likely to turn to laptops or desktops to watch short clips, the data suggests that viewers are turning to tablets, mobile devices, and connected TV devices and game consoles for medium and long-form videos. Videos 10 minutes or longer accounted for 30 percent of hours watched on mobile devices, 42 percent on tablets, and 75 percent on connected TV devices and game consoles.

The study also found that viewer engagement was "generally higher" for long-form videos. Mobile users tended to complete three-quarters of a long-form video at a rate of 20 percent, compared with 18 percent for desktops.

Meanwhile, viewers on connected TV devices and game consoles completed long-form content at a higher rate than viewers who watched on any other device. (A study released earlier in week found that video game consoles have become the most popular way for U.S. consumers to watch online entertainment content on their TVs.)

Apple's iPad was the most popular tablet for viewing online video during the third quarter, accounting for 99.4 percent of displays and 97.7 percent of total plays.

iPhones accounted for 56 percent of video plays, compared with 36.8 percent for Android-powered smartphones. However, Android edged out iPhone in total video minutes, delivering 49 percent to iPhones 44 percent.

The data was collected from a cross section of the company's customer and partner database, which features more than 100 million unique monthly viewers in more than 100 countries.

The study comes out as Amazon gets ready to ship its Android-powered Kindle Fire--the Internet retailer's first foray into the tablet market, which has so far been dominated by the iPad. But analysts believe the Kindle Fire's low $199 price tag--most tablets retail for around $500--could help make it the first legitimate competitor in an area where many other high-end Android tablets have missed the mark.