Shorter Videos Drive Growth in Viewing -- Will Ads Follow?

TV shows and long-form content have drawn the bulk of attention and much of the ad dollars in digital video, but a shift may be underway toward short-form videos. Consider these findings from the most recent FreeWheel report on video consumption habits. The video advertising technology company analyzed ads and views across its network of sites and customers in the first quarter of 2013 and found that for that period video views grew 30% compared to the year-ago period, driven in large part by viewing growth in digital-only programming, which consists mostly of short-form videos. FreeWheel’s customers include both digital-only and linear networks such as Crackle, A&E, Turner, Fox, Revision3 and others.

Freewheel refers to digital-only networks as “digital pure-play” networks. They rely on either third-party content or premium content they produce and then syndicate widely across the Web to portals such as Yahoo and YouTube. These digital programmers saw a 47% growth in video views year over year, compared to programmers that deliver linear content online -- such as TV networks carrying their shows on the Web -- which saw an 8% drop in video views.



Are consumers tuning away from TV shows online? Probably not. Freewheel posits instead that short-form is growing because consumers don’t differentiate much anymore between traditional TV they watch online or original online content. There is a consumer expectation that “TV is TV  regardless of the screen,” Freewheel said. The short-form videos consumers watch are usually music videos, news and celebrity entertainment.

The question remains when marketers will shift more dollars to shorter-form videos. For both linear networks carrying content online and for digital pure-plays, about 86% of their videosviews are for short-form videos, less than five minutes long. Long-form content online comprises 6% of video views, but is still the most desirable real estate for video ads. To wit, ad loads in long-form videos grew from 7.4 ads per video view in the first quarter of 2012 to 9.5 ads per video view in the first quarter of 2013. “Across the industry, the opportunity remains clear: to increase monetizeable  inventory by bringing more long-form content into digital environments,” the report said.

Further growth of TV Everywhere has the potential to bring more long-form programming to ad-supported digital models.

Even on the tablet front, the bulk of ad revenue is derived from long-form video viewing. About  60% of tablet ad views in the first quarter came from long-form, or TV-style, content, FreeWheel said.

2 comments about "Shorter Videos Drive Growth in Viewing -- Will Ads Follow? ".
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  1. Walter Sabo from SABO media, June 5, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.

    These facts were first reported to major advertisers by the HITVIEWS marketing team in 2007

  2. Paul Calento from TriVu Media, June 5, 2013 at 1:18 p.m.

    Yes, ads to follow growth in short-form content ... driven, from my perspective, by the YouTube phenomenon.

    Upside: Short-form may, arguably, produce the kinds of results (measurable engagement, recall and brand lift) missing in the clutter of long-form mid-roll.

    The "buy like TV" trend does not necessarily mean buying ads within broadcast-shows. It refers to the ability to find content most likely to create situations that align to a particular brand message. That's the domain of short-form video.

    Two areas to watch: 1.) Ability to target on the video-level; 2.) Premium brands to embrace short-form. Advertisers will follow.

    I'm not saying long-form isn't viewed on the Web ... it just may not be the optimum format for advertising.

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