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FreeWheel-Video-Ad-Completion-Rates-Q12011-Q42012-Feb2013Despite packing in an average of 2.5 more ads per video in Q4 than in Q3 (9.4 vs. 6.9), the completion rate for ads in long-form content (20+ minutes) held steady at 93% in Q4, per new quarterly data from FreeWheel. Completion rates for long-form video ads remained at their peak, up from 88% in Q4 2011 and 85% in the first quarter of that year. The completion rate for ads in mid-form content (5-20 minutes) also ended the year on a high note (81%).

Only ads served during short-form content (of less than 5 minutes) didn’t end the year at their high. Still, with a 68% completion rate (compared to Q2’s high of 69%), those ads were completed at a far greater rate than a year earlier (54% in Q4 2011).

Looking at general trends in digital video, the FreeWheel report shows that on a year-over-year basis, video views grew by 23%, while video ad views increased by 49%. That’s a trend that has been seen for several quarters now, and reflects the steadily increasing ad loads. FreeWheel warns that this consistent trend is a “real revenue risk to content owners,” in that a video ad saturation point will soon be reached, so content owners will need to find new channels for distribution and syndication, and make more content available online.

Meanwhile the increasing video ad completion rates are a function of two dynamics, per the report: content owners gaining a better understanding of content-to-advertising ratios and optimizing ad length and position; and consumers growing more accepting of the tradeoff between professionally produced content and advertising.

With regards to that first dynamic concerning ad length and position, the report reveals that mid-roll ads have grown at a faster year-over-year rate than pre-rolls (60% vs. 45%), while 30-second ads are gradually replacing 15-second ads.

About the Data: FreeWheel served over 13.5 billion video ads (pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll) in Q4 2012 and made ad decisions for almost 15 billion video views. While the data in this report is primarily U.S.-based activity on behalf of U.S.-based content producers, a small percentage of the viewing occurs outside the U.S. The data here represents only video that is rights-managed: aggregate monetization data for professional content from FreeWheel’s customers, and does not reflect trends for user-generated content.

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