Media and advertising companies are focusing more closely on mobile video technologies to drive growth, as the popularity of smartphones and tablet devices is resulting in a significant shift in viewing habits.

It was noted by the Financial Times that a growing proportion of consumers are not just watching short clips on their portable gadgets, but entire movies and TV programs. It highlighted figures from consultancy Magid Advisors that found 38 percent of smartphone owners regularly use their handset to watch videos, while one in ten watch full-length programs.

This could open up a wide range of opportunities for advertisers, if they can use tools such as TV analytics to help them gain a better understanding of what viewers are watching, so promotional messages can be targeted more closely on mobile devices. The Financial Times noted advertisers are moving quickly to buy digital video ads and, while the broader mobile ad market has proved challenging as companies look to adapt their existing solutions, mobile video is seen as offering a fairly simple solution.

Angela Steele, chief executive of mobile advertising agency Ansible, told the publication: "Consumers will watch endless amounts of videos on their phones and we see great results of mobile video ads, regardless of how much consumers enjoy or dislike the experience."

President of Magid Advisors Mike Vorhaus added that while watching TV and films on smartphones is not yet the dominant behavior, it is growing at a rapid rate and this shift has huge implications for the media and advertising industries.

"You have this device that is really widely distributed and there is a lot of content available through subscriptions and free services," he said.

Therefore, it will be vital that companies have the right solutions in place to make the most of this. Being able to analyze usage patterns from a range of different devices and serve up real-time results that improve the quality of advertising and the viewing experience is likely to be essential if advertisers are able to see a return on their investments in this area.

The importance of video advertising for many companies has also been illustrated by the announcement last week that AOL is set to acquire advertising platforom Adap.tv for $405 million.

Chairman and chief executive officer at AOL Tim Armstrong explained that the firm has already invested heavily in the digital video market with its focus on premium content and publishers and the purchase of Adap.tv will create the "leading video platform in the industry".

He added: "Two trends are prevalent in the video space right now – the movement from linear television to online video and the shift from manual transactions to programmatic media buying. Adap.tv is positioned squarely in front of the huge opportunity these trends are presenting."

Last year, Adap.tv was responsible for supporting more than 26,000 ad campaigns, running on around 9,500 websites. AOL, meanwhile, has seen its AOL On Network rank as the second most popular video platform in terms of US content views for nine of the last 12 months.