FreeWheel’s usually-revealing quarterly analysis of video and video ad viewing shows that authenticated viewing continues to skyrocket, particularly in long-form and live.
Its new Monetization Report says that 29% of long-form and live viewing is now coming from authenticated sites, up an astonishing 438% from a year ago. The report is based on analysis of more than 75 billion ad views.
The big increase in live viewing—up 176% over a year ago—is based on a lot of sports watching, especially the Sochi Olympics. The other sports events, like March Madness and Bowl Games, are already part of the digital landscape.
There are some growth engines looming, too. “As consumer education improves, and massive events like the 2014 World Cup loom on the horizon, we expect this growth to continue unabated,” the reports states.
While ad views in long-form viewing—defined as content that is at 20 minutes long and up—continue to tick upward, so does the short-form that almost defines online video (ad views up 23%).
The laggard is the neither nor fish-nor-fowl middle length video, from between 2-5 minutes, where ad views only went up 0.4%.
To some degree, says Brian Dutt, who managed the survey for FreeWheel, the increase for long-form viewing and advertising is chicken-and-eggish. “There’s a lot more content being made available, and there are a lot more TVEverywhere apps that have been launched,” he says.
If you build it, they will come, in other words, and with more opportunity and more viewers comes more ad opportunities. Long-form content will grow, too, if FreeWheel’s analysis is correct.
And there sure is room to grow. The authentication space is wide open. According to a GfK study, 87% of MVPD customers basically don’t know how to access programming they’re entitled to receive online—that’s virtually 9 out of 10, which I know I didn’t have to spell out to you, but jeez. Assuming there’s some wising-up that will be going on, there’s a much bigger audience pool in the wings.
And as more digital publishers create long-form content—Crackle, Hulu, AOL,Vevo, ad-supported PBS Digital and more-- announced aggressive schedules for new long-form content, digital publishers are supplying the vehicles.
One of the telling stats is that there seems to be an overall balance of sorts. Video views are up 27% over a year ago, and ad views are up 26%.
In Q1, 81% of the live views of ads came from sports content, and 13% from news, and the piddly 6% from entertainment.
In On Demand content, it’s many-splinters story. Scripted drama got 14% of the ad views, as did documentaries/reality; comedy/variety 13%, and music and movie trailers 13%. Still, sports content accounted for 16% and news programming the most of all—19%.
Combine the live view stats with the on-demand ones and the revelation that CBS News is planning its own digital channel makes even more sense than it does just based on gut instinct. Cable news is old-skewing and worthless. CBS could grab some beachfront with a digital video site and the FreeWheel stats seem to fortify the idea.
Another wow stat is found in FreeWheel’s analysis of the devices carrying those ad views. For the first time, over 20% of the ad views came a combination of three platforms smartphones (11%), tablet (7%) and OTT (3%). The sleeper there is over-the-top. Monetization there is up a breathtaking 188% over a year ago. That’s what Roku, Amazon Fire and Chromecast can do.
The upshot is that the environment for advertising within quality video sites is curving upward, yet with just a fraction of the swelled-up audience television has, and advertising reflects that.
Ads in mid-rolls have increased to an average 3.3 per break, compared to 2.7 a year ago, but still below the five to seven ads FreeWheel says television serves up every 15 minutes or so.
Likewise, 30 second commercials now make up 72% of all ad views in long-form content, a stat that just keeps going up. At that rate, we’re about two years away from consumer complaints online video is just like TV, in an annoying way.