M:Metrics sees increase in mobile video viewing in the U.S.

M:Metrics has some encouraging news for the state of mobile video in the United States. A recent study by the research firm has found that the audience for mobile video is growing at “an impressive rate” in the country, with a total of roughly 8 million viewers as of August.

In a survey conducted among approximately 33,000 mobile subscribers in the U.S. over the summer, M:Metrics found that the total audience for those who viewed mobile video, either from the carrier deck or video content sent by a friend or family member (viral video), has grown by 34 percent since January 2007.

Viral video was found to be the most popular type of video content on mobile devices, with 6.8 million viewers — a figure that increased by 36 percent since January. As for programmed video, which M:Metrics defines as “video content delivered on-deck over the carrier network,” 2.7 million subscribers tuned in for that type of content, up 28 percent since January.

The most popular type of content by genre was music videos, with 34.8 percent of the audience share, followed by movie trailers at 29 percent and weather information, sports and/or news at 25.7 percent. A full 15.3 percent of those surveyed watched full TV episodes and other programs and/or feature-length films on their mobile devices.

In a press statement, Seamus McAteer, chief product architect and senior analyst for M:Metrics, said the growth primarily was due to mobile carriers’ “aggressive promotion of these services, broader diffusion of 3G handsets and a deeper focus from content companies.”

The study looked only at carriers, not U.S. TV networks. Many U.S. TV networks have been distributing news and other content to cell phones for some time, but the competitive mobile broadcast systems are battling it out in the market and at the ATSC, meaning broadcasters have not yet made the same inroads into mobile TV in the U.S. as mobile carriers such as Sprint, Alltel and Verizon Wireless have.

For more information, visit www.mmetrics.com.