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Ad spending on mobile video will reach $18 billion next year, surpassing desktop

Time spent watching video already pivoted to mobile.

Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

The sheer volume of mobile video consumption will push mobile video ad spending past non-mobile next year. In 2018, mobile video ad spending is expected to grow 49 percent to nearly $18 billion, while fixed online video ad spending is expected to decline 1.5 percent to $15 billion.

That’s because people around the world will watch 25 percent more video on phones and tablets next year, while video consumption on non-mobile devices like laptops and computers is expected to decline for the first time, according to new forecasts from media measurement company Zenith.

In 2018, people on average will spend 36 minutes watching online video on their phones and tablets compared with 18.5 minutes on non-mobile devices. Mobile online video consumption first passed non-mobile last year and the gulf is going to widen significantly in the coming years.

Streaming on smart TVs — alone among non-mobile devices — continues to rise, but not fast enough to make up for declines in desktop and laptop viewing. Mobile device viewership growth was enough to lift overall online video consumption 20 percent this year.

Online ad spending has yet to catch up. Online ads served on desktops and connected TVs are bigger and considered more compelling than their smartphone and tablet counterparts, so they command a higher price.

Online video advertising currently makes up 28 percent of all digital display ad spending, up from 21 percent in 2012. That’s expected to rise to 30 percent next year and 31 percent in 2019.

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