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.