Video views and advertising views in the US grew at over 30% across all measures, according to a recent FreeWheel report.
Viewers have long made the philosophical leap that TV is not the physical set but the content itself, and with publishers and advertisers fully buying in, the FreeWheel Video Monetisation Report 2015 sees both consumption and distribution of premium video programming expanding across all screens.
Taking a deeper look at what people are watching on the big screens in their actual living rooms on their set top box video on demand (STB VOD) and over-the-top (OTT) streaming devices it found that, unsurprisingly, the use-cases for both were strikingly similar across entertainment content.
Long-form on-demand and live streams were the fastest growing content dimensions at 56% and 129% year-over-year increases in ad views, respectively. In a major shift, monetisation outside of desktop and laptop environments accounted for a majority of dynamically served video ad views at 60%. Across the big screen, OTT saw an impressive lift in monetisation at 76%, while, on the handheld end, smartphones led the charge in growth at 92%.
Authenticated ad views accounted for greater than 65% of all long-form and live programmer monetisation, driven by a total growth of 142% in ad views seen behind the wall, which in turn was buttressed by a 169% growth in Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) app viewership. For yet another quarter, FreeWheel’s experts see the value and adoption of TV Everywhere (TVE) products showing strong signs of progress.
NEW LIVING ROOM
As users increasingly turn to their digital devices as their primary viewing gateway, FreeWheel experts found that the average ad break now shows over four ads, with live content pushing the trend with an average mid-roll break that included over six creatives. While the headlines will lead you to believe that the majority of premium video inventory is transacted through secondary markets, the reality is quite the opposite.
Direct sold deals still dominate the market, with 95% of programmers’ video ad views coming from their owned and operated channels, and only the remaining 5% coming from secondary markets. Nevertheless, just as the rising tide raises all boats, FreeWheel saw significant growth at 141% Y-o-Y in video ad views as a result of the overall growth of digital video.
The market for ultra-premium, programmer-quality, digital video views will continue to grow in the US, as FreeWheel predicts that the ‘New Living Room’ (defined as anywhere, anytime viewing) will expand with the popularity of both on-demand and live streaming digital viewership pushing all content to all screen.
THE GREAT CONTENT RACE
As the premium video economy continues to advance at a strong and impressive pace, Q4 2015 saw a 32% Y-o-Y growth in video views and a 30% growth in ad views. Looking back at this same time last year, Q4 2015 was even bigger in terms of ad view growth, which was pushed out by an impressive performance in monetisation by programmers and in line in terms of video consumption, which was scaled by another strong period for Digital Pure-Plays (DPPs).
Consumption of shows and streams drove the top line as video ad views delivered across long-form and live programming grew at 56% and 129% Y-o-Y, respectively. Historically trailing behind, short-form saw a respectable 11% increase in delivered ads pointing to the maturing, but still important source of inventory.
SPORTS – CENTERED LIVE
Classifying genres into the five content verticals of Entertainment, Kids, News, Sports, and Music, FreeWheel observed noteworthy differences within the verticals as it related to monetisation across content durations.
While Entertainment and Kids saw the majority of ad views delivered across long-form content at 78% and 58%, respectively, news and music were dominated by short-form at 72% and 87%, respectively. Sports is an outlier and skewed heavily towards live at 69% of monetisation.
Assessing the cross section between duration and genre, FreeWheel also measured the delivery of video ad views by content vertical and segment. Entertainment (the summation of four segments: full episode entertainment, entertainment clips, movies, and entertainment simulcasts) comprised both the largest vertical and contained the single biggest segment of monetisation at 45% and 32%, respectively.
Sports accounted for the second largest piece of the pie at 29% and drove overall top line growth across monetisation at 83% year-over-year. The impressive leap in sports monetisation was fuelled by live sports streams, which accounted for a noteworthy 20% of all ad views in Q4 2015.
Monetisation of live content is driven almost entirely by programmers, and the majority of that is across Sports content, with only 1% across Entertainment Simulcast and 2% across Live News.
Until there is wide-scale adoption by programmers to launch online simulcasts of their linear feeds, the majority of entertainment consumption will happen as catch-up and/or binge viewing. FreeWheel expects to see a shift across News content. US programmers have begun to launch apps which simulcast their regular linear programming, so as they begin to monetize those streams with dynamic ad insertion, the balance of the pie will see more red.
India is known to follow trends set by the US and Europe. Hence, it might be prudent for broadcasters, programmers and content creators to pay heed to the underlying trends that Freewheel’s report has highlighted.