Tablets are encouraging more viewing of long-form online programming. Online video platform provider Ooyala reports that the usage it has seen highlights continued growth in mobile and tablet video consumption. The overall share of tablet video viewing has increased by 90% in over six months. That said, mobile and tablet devices still account for fewer than 6% of all video plays on the Ooyala platform. Optimistically, that suggests there is plenty of room for growth. With more tablets coming to the market every day, Ooyala suggests that video publishing strategies need to adapt to the reality of “Tablet TV”.

Tablet owners spent over 70% of their total tablet video viewing time watching material 10 minutes or longer in duration. 30% of total tablet viewing time was spent watching programming of thirty to sixty minutes in length, with a further 30% for programming over an hour long.

However, the average time per play for online video on demand was 168 seconds on tablets, or less than three minutes. This was higher than on desktop devices, at 142 seconds, or mobile handsets at 103 seconds, but lower than for connected televisions and games consoles at 584 seconds, or almost ten minutes.

That is something to bear in mind when looking at other online video statistics that simply report requests or plays. It should not be assumed that these represent complete views. When material is available on demand the user is only a few clicks away from watching something else, which may encourage sampling.

These figures all relate to Ooyala traffic, so other clip based viewing will not be represented in this.

In comparison, live video time per play was over 19 minutes on tablets, above mobile at 11 minutes, but behind desktop at almost 40 minutes and connected televisions and games consoles at over 42 minutes. While much longer than the average on demand view, this suggests that the form factor of smaller screens may be less suited to extended live viewing, for instance of sports.

“Online video distribution continues to redefine television around the world,” said Bismarck Lepe, cofounder and president of products for Ooyala. “For premium content providers, the ability to closely monitor consumption across devices and across an entire network is critical. It’s the only way to have a holistic strategy for optimizing revenue.”

The Ooyala Global Video Index report measures the anonymized viewing habits of almost 200 million viewers in over 130 countries every month, across more than 6,000 domains, based on its real-time analytics systems. It does not claim to represent online video usage as a whole and clearly it will represent usage patterns associated with its client base, which include major media companies.

Telstra in Australia led a recent investment round of $35 million in Ooyala and is now deploying the platform across its online video services and has become a reseller in the Asia Pacific region.

Ooyala observes that tablets are quickly becoming the “first screen” people turn to when streaming television shows, movies and sporting events. This is true in developing markets and even in households with traditional televisions.

One of the points that Ooyala makes is that it is no longer enough to measure viewing simply in terms of clicks. Sophisticated analytics systems can help publishers optimize ad or paywall strategies based on a deeper definition of engagement that includes personal viewing habits, time of day, viewing device, and signals from the social graph of the viewer.

Ooyala suggests that among its online viewers, the most engagement is on tablets, connected televisions and games consoles, in terms of video length and completion of viewing.

Although the Ooyala data is only representative of a particular platform and the programming that it carries, it is refreshing to see figures that provide some insight into online viewer behaviour, beyond headline figures about total views and viewing time.