-By Mike Shields
Despite the popularity of the iPhone, and the general touch screen mania that has been sweeping the U.S. over the past year, still very few people actually watch video on their cell phones. But the numbers are on the rise, according to a new report issued by The Nielsen Company.
According to Nielsen, 10.3 million U.S. mobile subscribers access video content on their phones during a given month, or just 5 percent of all wireless subscribers. However, the audience is growing—up 14 percent versus 2007–driven primarily to more Internet-friendly phones in the market (back in 2005, a report issued by mobile researcher M:Metrics found just one percent of all mobile users to be watching video on their phones).
Nearly two thirds of mobile Web video viewers are watching video via the mobile Web (66 percent), though paid subscription services and purchased downloads continue to account for a sizable amount of viewership.
Not surprisingly, iPhone users skew high when it comes to video. More than a third of iPhone users claim to regularly watch video on their beloved devices, per Nielsen. And as of Q3 of 2008, 11 percent of all users who streamed any mobile video did so using an iPhone, says the report.
The top Web destination for consuming mobile video, also not surprisingly, is YouTube—likely do in part to the site’s prominent anchor position on the home screen of all new iPhones. Nielsen found that Q3 2008 roughly three million unique users accessed YouTube via their mobile devices.