Mobile Content Casters: The New Way of Watching TV

In the digital era we’re living in, there are more ways than ever to watch our favorite video content. Mobile phones offer unparalleled flexibility when it comes to accessing entertainment, allowing us to watch our favorite videos, play games or go on Snapchat to our heart’s content, almost anywhere, any time.  

While mobile phones offer convenience and flexibility, the smaller screen just doesn’t compare to a TV screen for creating that sense of immersion.

Luckily for those with big screen envy, there’s a number of devices that allow anything on our phones to be mirrored or casted onto our TV, with the ability to mirror or cast programmes already built into some TVs.

29% of global internet users have watched content on their TV by mirroring/casting via their phone.

Devices like Google’s Chromecast allows users to share almost anything — films, personal photos, YouTube videos, Netflix shows and more — to their TV.

We’re going to use our data to dig deeper into mobile content casters; to understand who they are and analyze their media consumption habits.

Who are mobile content casters?

Firstly, it makes sense to understand who this audience is by examining their demographics and attitudes.

Our data shows that over 60% of mobile content casters are aged between 16-34, a relatively unsurprising finding considering that younger generations tend to be more tech-oriented compared to older generations in general.

Profiling mobile content casters

This is emphasized by their attitudes toward technology. 63% of mobile content casters say having the latest technological products is very important to them, and they’re 25% more likely than the average internet user to say this.

Additionally, 73% say they’re constantly connected online and 63% feel more insecure without their mobile phone than their wallet.

Many younger internet users, especially Gen Z, grew up with a smartphone at their fingertips and have never known a world without it.

Millennials may not have always grown up with a smartphone in hand, but they did grow up during a period of rapid technological, political and societal change — all of which has helped shape their relationship with technology and the world around them.

Our data reveals that more men are casting content via their mobile compared to women (56% and 44% respectively). And the highest concentration of mobile content casters are in Latin America (42%), while in North America it’s much lower (20%).

The reason behind the high uptake of casting in Latin America might be linked to the fact they’re more invested in watching subscription services like Netflix compared with other regions.

The majority of content casters are also in full-time work and around 35% fall into our top-income brackets, highlighting that for a notable portion of this group, they’ve got money to spend.

Furthermore, this group are 1.2 times more likely to agree that they tend to buy brands they see advertised, which should come as good news for brands wanting to target this group.

What types of media are they consuming?

We know that this group are watching content on TV by casting via their phone and they’re also spending around 4 hours per day on their mobile — just over 30 minutes longer than average. So it’s a fair assumption to think that this audience is probably spending more time watching online TV compared to linear TV.

However, our data reveals that the opposite is true — mobile casters actually spend more time watching linear TV than online TV. And, it’s a figure that’s consistent across all world regions.

Linear TV stats

This audience is spending an average of 1 hour and 56 minutes per day watching linear TV compared to 1 hour and 34 minutes watching online TV.

Despite constant claims that the internet is taking people away from more traditional media, linear TV is confidently holding its own.

Mobile content casters in North America are spending the most time on linear and online TV compared to other regions, but linear TV still comes out on top in this region too.

This point is further highlighted when we look at whether mobile content casters pay for a subscription TV service (e.g. cable). Around 69% of mobile content casters say they do, which is 10% higher than the average user.

We can also see that they’re spending roughly 17 minutes longer per day watching online TV than the global average.

Social media platforms set the bar, capturing the most media time per day at 2 hours and 48 minutes (22 minutes longer than average).

High profile privacy breaches on social media and increasing use of private messaging apps hasn’t been enough to curb the growth of social media platforms. As newer platforms like Tik Tok emerge and other platforms become more interactive, personalized and visual, social media will no doubt keep capturing user’s attention.

It’s clear that this group is highly engaged with different types of media and are spending a considerable amount of their daily time on each. So it’s not that they’re shunning one particular type of media, they’re just more focused on a multi-screen and varied entertainment experience.

Online TV isn’t replacing linear TV, it’s simply adding another layer of entertainment. And with screen mirroring/casting, the lines between online TV and linear TV are becoming increasingly blurred.

Second-screening is also prevalent when watching TV. Casting makes second-screening even more likely, because it allows consumers to use their mobile phones for other activities while the content is being mirrored to the big screen.

Second screening could actually be enhancing consumers’ TV viewing experience so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

For example, 48% of mobile content casters search for products to buy and around 45% search for information related to what they’re watching via other devices.

This shows that viewers are actively engaging with the content they’re watching and are curious enough to look for more information, which presents plenty of opportunities for brands and marketers to reach these consumers. This should be music to advertisers’ ears.

Research by MediaCom and ViewersLogic last year also found that TV ads were more effective when viewers had a second device in hand. So, second screening has high potential to open up more buying opportunities.

Overall, it’s become obvious that many media activities are happening simultaneously and not sequentially.

Mobile content casters are embracing online subscription services like Netflix, with just over 1 in 4 watching them every day or nearly every day — they’re 38% more likely than the average user to do this. A further 1 in 4 say they regularly binge-watch episodes of a TV show in one go.

At the same time, around 2 in 5 watch live TV on a TV channel. Their need for entertaining content is reflected in their reasons for using social media, with close to half saying funny or entertaining content is a key motivator for using social media.

In terms of the top TV services they use, we’re seeing significant market variances here. For example, China’s TV landscape is dominated by local players such as iQiyi, YouKu and Tudou. While over in India, Hotstar is the biggest player (75%).

When we look at western markets like the U.S., we can see that Netflix dominates (86%), followed by Hulu (48%) and Amazon Prime Video (46%).

And most mobile content casters aren’t freeloading either, around 3 in 4 in the U.S. say they pay for a Netflix account while globally 38% say they’ve paid for a movie or TV streaming service in the last month (1.46 IDX).

How are they discovering brands?

So far, we’ve looked at who mobile content casters are and their media consumption. We also highlighted earlier that this group are quite receptive toward advertising.

But what kind of advertising is the most effective for this group?

We can see that TV related ads, such as ads seen on TV (41%) and TV shows/films (34%) are prominent for this group, which makes sense considering they’re spending a considerable amount of time across both linear and online TV.

For a group that spends most of their daily media time on social media, this is something that’s also crucial for brand discovery. They’re 46% more likely than average to discover brands via updates on brand’s social media pages and 31% more likely than average to find out about new brands via ads seen on social media.

When we look at their top over-indexes for brand discovery, video and influencer content could be powerful tools. They’re 55% more likely to find out about new brands via blogs and 50% more likely to discover brands via reviews from expert bloggers.

Their attachment to influencers is echoed in their reasons for using social media with 29% saying they follow celebrities/celebrity news, making them 48% more likely than the average user to say this.

It’s not just traditional methods of discovery, like TV, that are important for reaching this group.

Brands should also look at how social media and influencers can be used most effectively.

This group is highly engaged with technology and are spending considerable time across different media.

It’s really important for brands to adopt an omni-approach strategy that includes — and is optimized for — various devices and media, to maximize chances of effectively connecting with this group.

Media consumption 2019