Why Video Autoplay Does not Work On Mobile

Why Video Autoplay Doesn’t Work On Mobile

Handheld devices and smartphones have revolutionized the world of videos. Today, video streaming services are formatting videos to suit these mobile devices so that people can watch content on the go. The ease of watching videos on your mobile can be fun and relaxing. However, the experience of watching a video on your computer is completely different, one that you may not be able to reproduce on your mobile. This is where the video autoplay function comes in.

If you are the broadcaster, you definitely want viewers to watch your video. Otherwise, you will lose revenue. Usually, you get paid for the number of video views. So if autoplay function doesn’t work, you will be losing out on the number of views. This, in turn, translates to lower revenues.

Hence, it is important for you to first understand why video autoplay doesn’t work on a mobile devices, and what you can do to fix this.

Understanding Video Autoplay

As the name suggests, video autoplay occurs when a video starts playing automatically. Usually, this happens when the webpage loads completely. This allows seamless video-watching experience without the viewer having to do anything.

However, this seamless play of the video does not occur when a viewer watches a video on his mobile device. The viewer first has to activate the video for it to play. Just loading the webpage will not work.

Why Autoplay Doesn’t Work on Mobile Devices?

Both Android and iOS have disabled this particular feature for mobile phones, and this is done for a reason. By disabling the video autoplay feature, the mobile phone software makers save users money.

It is prudent to remember mobile phone companies charge mobile phone users by the bandwidth they use. A typical mobile device user will have limits on the data they can use each month. If they exceed the limit, their connection speed drops or they are charged overages. Hence, the autoplay function is disabled on mobile phones to ensure users do not pay for videos they have no interest in watching.

The real culprits are the mobile phone companies, as they keep levying incremental charges for data downloads instead of charging a flat monthly fee like Internet service providers.

How Can a Broadcaster Work Around This Issue?

Well, the good news is there are a few ways around disabled video autoplay. Some of them are as follows:

  1. HTML5

You can create GIFs using HTML5. While the video will not play unless the viewer explicitly clicks the Play button, you can still transcode the initial few seconds of your video into a GIF to let the user see what it contains. You can make the GIF alluring so that the viewer feels compelled to watch your video.

  1. Single device solution

Let’s not forget that Android is an open source OS. Hence, if you know advanced coding, you can alter your Android operating system to enable autoplay of videos. This is beneficial only if you are the viewer.

While this is a possible solution, you may find it difficult, as a majority of subroutines and applications on Android OS are not open-source. If you still succeed in changing the operating system to enable video autoplay, you risk making it incompatible with certain other applications.

This trick will not work with iOS since it is not an open-source operating system. So if you own an Apple device, you will still have to manually start the videos you want to watch.

The Ideal Solution for Disabled Video Autoplay

The perfect solution is with mobile phone companies. A large number of mobile phone operators do not offer their customers unlimited data plan. Hence, until they start, video autoplay on mobile phones will be a distant dream. And, when a mobile phone company does offer unlimited data plan, the prices are exorbitant. For instance, T-Mobile in the U.S. has recently hiked the monthly charge for unlimited data plan to $95.

Today, people are downloading more than they used to a few years ago. This is because a large chunk of the population has smartphones. As a result, it is straining the mobile companies’ network and hurting their bottom line. This, in turn, is causing mobile operators to charge more for unlimited data plan. But if you see the other side of the coin, there is a demand for unlimited data plan. Hence, mobile phone carriers will sooner or later have to offer the plan to customers or commit business suicide.

The Bottom Line

Video autoplay function has been purposely disabled to save viewers money. Rather than making it more convenient for viewers, operating systems are designed to prevent unnecessary expenses that can occur with limited data plans.

As a broadcaster, you can opt for a few workarounds, but your aim should be to market your video using a webpage and making sure it is of high-quality and informative to get viewership. This way, even mobile device users will hear the buzz around your video and have no qualms about watching whether they have a limited or unlimited data plan.  Contact us for more quick tips on how to handle your media production needs.

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