Commentary

Video Ad Views See Strongest Growth Rate in Three Years

Consumers are snipping the apron strings to the TV.

That doesn’t mean they’re cutting the cable cord, per se. But it does mean that, with each passing quarter, TV viewers are growing more comfortable with watching their programming on other screens. Viewership of long-form programming on demand has grown 50% year over year, and more than half of the long-form and live views originated from TV Everywhere authenticated streams.

These are among the findings in FreeWheel’s just-released first quarter report on the thriving digital video market.

In other good news, the report showed video ad views rising 43% year over year, while video content views grew 40%. FreeWheel said these numbers are the strongest since 2012, which was when digital video was rising rapidly as a nascent business. To see this type of increase as the business matures is even more impressive.

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Big media can take heart that episodic TV and movies, along with live content, are driving huge increases in viewing year-over-year. That kind of content often commands a premium in ad dollars — and in the first quarter, about 60% of video ad views from programmers originated from live streams or long-form content.

Also, consumers are branching out beyond the computer for their online video viewing. More than 30% of view ad views originated outside of the desktop or laptop, underscoring the increasing popularity of smartphones and over-the-top devices for watching video. Specifically, FreeWheel found that viewing on over-the-top devices, such as Roku, Chromecast, gaming consoles and smart TVs grew nearly five times year over year, to account for 8% of video ad views. Smartphone viewing more than doubled.

Roku leads in the OTT market with 43% of video ad views, while Apple TV and gaming consoles each command about 20% of that market. Chromecast is rising to 12%, up from 7% last year.

In related news, Juniper Research said that the number of subscribers to OTT services like Netflix and Amazon will rise globally from 92.1 million in 2014 to more than 332 million by 2019.

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