During the fourth quarter of 2011, video ad volume growth outpaced video viewing volume growth for the second quarter in a row. That’s according to new data from video technology company FreeWheel, which also found that ad loads -- the number of video ads per video view -- increased over time, while video ad completion rates remained stable.
What do these findings mean? According to FreeWheel, digital video is increasingly being monetized like traditional broadcast TV as viewers accept an increased number of ads in exchange for better content.
Ad loads are increasing most in long-form content -- i.e., 20 minutes or more. There are now nearly seven video ads per long-form video, more than double the ad load from early 2011.
However, while professional video views were on an ever-increasing trajectory for much of 2011, they slipped slightly in November and December. That's when professional content producers slowed the introduction of new episodes into both linear and digital video markets.
Fourth-quarter “viewing data tells a cautionary tale for content producers,” according to JoAnna Foyle Abel, FreeWheel's vice president of marketing. “Unless they continue to introduce broad libraries of content to market and widely distribute that content to broader audiences, their ability to capture advertising revenue will slow accordingly.”
From the first quarter of 2011 through the fourth, video viewing grew 47%, while ad viewing grew 49%. However, the ratio between the two narrowed dramatically between the third quarter and the fourth. By the fourth quarter, three-quarters of all digital video content had a video ad associated with it, while in the first quarter, just over half of the content had video ads placed in it.
“This trend shows that producers of professional digital video content are now using advertising to monetize the majority of the content they place into the market,” according to Foyle Abel.
Also, the mid-roll video ad placement showed the most dramatic growth in 2011. FreeWheel attributes this to a rise in mid-form content (5-20 minutes in length) and long-form content being made available online, more mid-roll ad pods being created within that content; and more video ads per pod being added.
Breathing new life into the market, the iPad continues to be an influential device for video viewing.
Apple’s popular tablet actually has its own viewing dayparts -- the early prime time during the morning commute from 7-10 a.m., and a second prime time in the evening from 9-11 p.m. -- which is distinct from both other wireless devices and wired and broadcast viewing.
The data in FreeWheel’s report factor is in over 45 billion video views, and nearly 28 billion video ad views throughout 2011.