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January 17th, 2017

eMarketer's Surprising Growth Estimates For Worldwide Video Audience

Most folks would be thrilled to learn that the possibility of people interested in their product would grow to 2.15 billion in just this year—well, that's the forecast for video viewers.

The digital video audience will grow 8.2 percent in 2017, according to new data released by eMarketer. Digital video viewership growth worldwide has been spurred by the general expansion of Internet and mobile Internet usage, faster mobile Internet connections, and increased data and Wi-Fi availability across developing countries.

More than 62 percent of the world's Internet users will view digital video in 2017, up from 60.8 percent in 2016. Digital video viewership's uptake has primarily occurred in developed markets such as the US, Canada and the UK, where Internet infrastructure can meet the bandwidth demands of digital video. Strong Internet speeds enable consumers to watch entire TV programs online through over-the-top (OTT) services and share videos via social media channels.

eMarketer projects the share of global Internet users who watch digital video will increase marginally to 63.4 percent in 2020. While this growth is small, the consumers who view video will spend more time watching content.

Digital video viewership worldwide has recorded double-digit increases annually since 2013, but 2017 will mark the first year in which growth will fall to single-digit rates, at 8.2 percent. Developing markets such as India, Indonesia and the Middle East and Africa lag behind by this measure due to a lack of infrastructure that can provide access to mobile and household broadband.

While Internet users can go online and access social media, slower mobile Internet speeds and expensive data plans have tended to limit video consumption. However, these markets will experience some of the fastest growth rates due primarily to the rise of more affordable data plans, faster Internet speeds and improved Wi-Fi availability.

Digital video viewership growth will remain steady, in part due to the increased availability of content created in local languages. The option to download videos will also spur some growth, as consumers seek alternatives to poor mobile connection streaming while on the go. The top video sources worldwide consist of OTT services like Hulu, Netflix and Vimeo and social media platforms Facebook and YouTube. Among the top players in China, where 569.0 million digital video viewers reside, are Internet platform Sohu and video hosting site YouKu Tudou.

In January 2016, Netflix expanded its service to 130 markets, bringing the total to 190 countries worldwide. And in November 2016, Netflix announced that viewers can now download videos to their devices for offline viewing. It remains to be seen whether other platforms will follow suit. Each country typically has second- and third-tier local video services that overlap in usage with the top platforms.

Subscribers can see the full report here.