Watching Commercials To 'Completion': Something For TV Networks To Cheer About?

TV networks in the future will take heart that some key TV viewing habits of the past will increasingly look to make a return -- that is, “watching” TV commercials. New results from FreeWheel say 90% of TV commercials on long-form digital videos -- those 20 minutes or more -- are seen until completion.

Even shorter-form video content is tracking higher “completion” results -- 75% for short-form videos (zero to five minutes in length) and 82% for medium-form ones (five minutes to 20 minutes).

People “watching” TV commercials -- that’s a good sign some TV marketing messages are getting through. But we know “completion” rates may mean different things to different people -- and not always having to do with what  marketers want.

Watching  TV commercials is an activity that may have run its course for Millennials, who always have multitasking time to be on other devices, or even say, a bigger video screen.



Still, traditional TV networks are now getting the benefit of those growing video-on-demand services where usage is growing and -- drum roll -- where consumers can’t skip TV commercials.

Why aren’t completion rates 100% for premium TV shows? One can only imagine viewers are abandoning watching a particular TV show in the middle of its airing. But that activity probably has nothing to with the commercial itself, and more about the actual TV show.

Naturally, marketers in a niche and fractionalized TV world want more for their money and effort -- engagement, actions, and a deeper brand connection. Video commercial completions are good -- but not great -- news.

3 comments about "Watching Commercials To 'Completion': Something For TV Networks To Cheer About? ".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, March 19, 2014 at 5:02 p.m.

    Just because the network signal is uninterrupted for 30 seconds in a commercial break doesn't mean anyone is watching. I could be in the bathroom, on my iPhone, on my iPad, getting something to eat, etc. In fact, in this day and age, an uninterrupted signal probably means the viewer was completely otherwise engaged and not remotely (no pun intended) interested in TV for that half a minute.

  2. Michael Natale from MCM Media Sales, March 20, 2014 at 12:01 p.m.

    Amen Mike Einstein, Amen.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, March 20, 2014 at 8:15 p.m.

    While I agree Mike and Michael, I think you would be surprised by the data. We do coincidental surveys here in Australia - primarily to check that the panellists are pushing their buttons. We telephone them and ask 'who was watching what' when the phone rang. We regularly get 90+% matches between the 'phone and the meter (i.e. the panel is in the main doing what they are supposed to do). That means that we can analyse the minute-by-minute data with confidence. So I did just that some years ago by looking at a week's prime-time ads. First, not every ad-break declined - which seemed odd. This happened as people were surfing from other programme breaks and ad-breaks. The average decline was just under 5%. The middle-ad was closer to 10%. The lead-out and lead-in ads were 1-2%. The analysis covered thousands of ad-breaks. Just remember that everyone does make a cup of coffee or have comfort stops during ad-breaks - but I am yet to meet the person that does this EVERY ad-break.

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