Cisco Predicts The Number of Mobile Internet Video Users is About to Explode
As reported in a May 30th, 2012 gigaom blogpost, Cisco is predicting that the internet will be four times as large in the next four years - in large part because of predicted increases in video consumption online.
And Cisco is saying that mobile devices will drive much of the growth in internet traffic - allowing many more users to watch videos on their wireless devices.
Specifically, Cisco predicts the audience for mobile video is about to grow six-fold - from 271 million users in 2011 to a staggering 1.6 billion users in 2016.
While mobile video is clearly the big story for indie filmmakers, Cisco's latest Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast (2011-2016) provides a number of game-changing predictions about internet traffic growth and service penetration - all of which are essential reading for 21st century filmmakers:
1) In the next four years there will be an explosion in the number of tablets, mobile phones, and other mobile smart devices. By 2016, the forecast projects there will be nearly 18.9 billion network connections ― almost 2.5 connections for each person on earth ― compared with 10.3 billion in 2011. PCs generated 94 percent of consumer Internet traffic in 2011. That contribution is expected to fall to 81 percent by 2016, as consumers and businesses move to mobile devices.
2) More Internet users: By 2016, there are expected to be 3.4 billion Internet users ― about 45 percent of the world's projected population.
3) More video: By 2016, 1.2 million video minutes ― the equivalent of 833 days (or over two years) - will travel the Internet every second.
4) By 2016, TVs are expected to account for over 6 percent of global consumer Internet traffic (up from 4 percent in 2011), and 18 percent of Internet video traffic (up from 7 percent in 2011) ― demonstrating the impact of Web-enabled TVs as a viable online option for many consumers.
5) Global advanced video traffic, including three-dimensional and high-definition TV, is projected to increase five times between 2011 and 2016.
6) Wi-Fi growth: By 2016, over half of the world's Internet traffic is expected to come from Wi-Fi connections.
The explosion in internet traffic - much of it driven by mobile devices that play video - is a global phenomenon.
Over the next four years, Cisco predicts the ramp-up in internet traffic will be the most pronounced outside of the US and China: India is expected to have the highest IP traffic growth rate with a 62 percent growth rate from 2011 to 2016. In a second-place tie, Brazil and South Africa both have 53 percent predicted growth rates from 2011 to 2016.
So indie filmmakers need to consider how their content will be viewed in 2016 (increasingly on mobile devices) and who will be watching (a worldwide audience that might include the US but also newly-connected viewers anywhere in the world - e.g., China, India, Brazil and South Africa).
As the audience for mobile video grows to 6 times its current levels in the next 4 years, some entrepreneurial filmmakers will seize the opportunity and ride the wave - making content that becomes hugely popular (because it is useful? entertaining?) with an enormous new worldwide audience.
But does this mean making movies that appeal to the widest possible audience - or does it make sense to create niche fare that your true fans (wherever they are in the world) can share (via social media) with other like-minded fans?
As millions of new viewers go online, using their new mobile device to watch video, how will you connect with an audience?
As noted above, globally mobile video is projected to be the fastest-growing consumer mobile service, going from 271 million users in 2011 to 1.6 billion users in 2016...
What will these 1.3+ billion new mobile video users be looking for?
How will video content made for mobile devices differ from prior motion pictures?
What must a filmmaker do to get attention in the coming tidal wave of new content?
With all those new users (many in developing countries), how should your filmmaking evolve?
What films will you make?
How will potential new fans find your content?
In the vast new distributed network - where 1.3+ billion new viewers will be watching video on mobile devices with built-in tools for recommending and sharing - how can you harness the social network to increase your audience?
And, if the audience for your filmmaking grows, how will you monetize your content?
Will you be making direct sales to consumers, who pay you directly for the privilege of watching your films (a tough business model, considering how much "free" content there will be)?
Or will you be making branded content (where a sponsor pays you)?
Or will you be licensing your films to an aggregator (e.g., the online version of the Old World TV networks) who pays you a flat rate or a pro-rata share based on your film's popularity?