As tablets and phones with touch screens proliferate, more and more people are watching videos on mobile devices. But any website with video must decide which devices to support and encode their video to play on different phones and tablets. According to Encoding.com, which encodes about a million videos a month for everyone from MTV to PBS, nearly 78 percent of its customers encode their mobile video to play on Apple iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches), whereas only 4 percent encode specifically for Android devices. The remaining 18 percent encode for the 3GP format, which is used by feature phones.
This data is based on which preset options Encoding’s customers choose. It doesn’t mean that only 4 percent of videos will play on Android devices (which after all support Flash, MPEG-4, and 3GP), but that only 4 percent of Encoding’s customers bother to select the Android preset, which provides the optimal viewing experience on those devices. Whereas choosing the Apple presets is pretty much the default right now, and as noted earlier, iOS was embraced rather quickly. Encoding’s 1,400 customers are fairly representative of video producers across the Web, spanning media, advertising, retailers, and developers.
Encoding CEO Jeff Malkin suspects that the Android numbers will go up with its recent market share gains, and cautions that these numbers are usually a lagging indicator of consumer usage. Generally video creators want to see major traction before targeting a specific set of devices. On mobile, iOS rules right now, but Android is rising quickly.
Across the Web as a whole (not just mobile), the H.264 format continues to make gains, while Windows Media (WMV) has dwindled down to 1.2 percent of all encodes. Malkin sees “a mass migration away from WMV occurring.”