Commentary

The Catch Up Viewer Catches Most Ads, Too

Video streamers playing catch up seem to be very good commercial watchers, according to new data in FreeWheel’s Q2 Monetizaton Report, and also watch the most commercials, apparently without flinching, according to its Q2 Monetization Report.

Their ad completion rate, in fact, is slightly better than that of digital enthusiasts, the bunch of people most likely to watch a lot and binge a lot. Samplers, pretty well defined by the word itself, are least likely to see as many ads to completion.

Samplers see only 85% of pre-roll ads to completion; digital enthusiasts see 90%, and catch-up viewers beat all with 94% Those rates for mid-roll ads decline for every category of viewer, but most of all for a relatively light viewing sampler, but hardly at all for the catch-up viewer or enthusiast.

That makes sense. Both of those “better” viewers are purpose driven: They are committed to what they’re watching, so more likely to stay through the mid-roll ads. I’m saddened, really. Mid-episode ads are the most odious aspect of commercial TV.  Resistance seems to be futile. I’m just once crab out there.

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But it’s significant (to me) that mid-roll ads feel most comfy in live video events, where, FreeWheel blares in a headlines, “AD BREAKS CONTINUE TO MIRROR LINEAR ON LIVE CONTENT.”  Yes, indeed: 110 seconds per mid-roll break. I am supposing much of this live programming is sports, and the live content online is a duplicate of what’s on TV.

In terms of impressions, the value of that digital enthusiast is magnified. As FreeWheel notes, “a Catch-Up Viewer generates 1.7 times the impressions of a Sampler, while a Digital Enthusiast generates 7.3 times the ad impressions of a Sampler.”

FreeWheel, which is a unit of media giant Comcast, was expected to explain its findings further at an Advertising Week event today in New York.

These quarterly reports are pretty good snapshots of how things are doing. This report is based on data comprised of 47 billion video views in Q2. The data set, FreeWheel says, is “one of the largest available on the usage and monetization of professional, rights-managed video content.”

It shows growth, both in ad views (up 28% year over year) and video views (up 24% YOY). Says this report,  “In an environment where publishers are increasingly scrutinized for their ad experience, seeing robust ad view growth on top of strong video view growth is a positive signal that users remain committed to ad-supported platforms.”

Driving that content increase, mostly, is long form content, up 37%, which beats short-form (less than five minutes), up 25% and live content, up 23%. In Q2, 68% of all “TV-style” ad views came from authenticated views; FreeWheel speculates Olympic authenticated viewing ought to have pushed that into the 70% range in Q3.

Here’s a stat that seems to be at a Gladwellian brink: The growth of viewership via devices other than a laptop is now at the point that there’s no growth in laptops.  They generated 34% of the ad views, a 0% increase, year over year.

Over-the-top ad views account for 23% of the total, up 66% over a year ago and smartphone ad views are 18% (up 63%). Tablets collect  8% of all ad views, up 34%. Another 17% comes from set-top box video on demand. Put another way,  two-thirds of the ad views come from other than a laptop.

pj@mediapost.com

3 comments about "The Catch Up Viewer Catches Most Ads, Too".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 29, 2016 at 4:36 p.m.

    Does anyone really believe that 85-94% of  "video streamers" actually "watch" an average ad that appears---who knows for how long---on their screens?

  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 29, 2016 at 7:39 p.m.

    Who sponsored the FreeWheel study? Was it the owner of FreeWheel, i.e., Comcast? That seems a huge omission in the story. It might seem to the readers that Comcast has a conflict of interest in reporting "no problem" to Madison Avenue, if only they had been reminded.

  3. pj bednarski from MediaPost.com replied, September 30, 2016 at 7:34 a.m.

    I think I agree with you. It was an oversight. I have mentioned FreeWheel's owner in the past, and I should have this time. That said, I don't see how this data was different than the kind of numbers reported by others. But more background information, as you say, would be better and I've gone back in to the piece to add it. Thanks.

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