Digital video ad views grew at a faster pace than video views from Q4 2010 to Q4 2011 (49% vs. 47%), as they did in Q3, although the ratio by which ad views outgrew video views drastically narrowed between Q3 and Q4, according to a February 2012 report [pdf] from FreeWheel. During 2011, video views grew from 10B in Q1 to 12.2B in Q4, while video ad views jumped from 5.5B to 9B in the same timeframe, meaning that by Q4, three-quarters of all video content had a video ad associated with it, up from just over half of content in Q1.
Digital Video Viewing Dips at Year-End
The volume of digital video viewing dipped in Q4 during November and December, though. According to the report, this is the first quarter to experience a dip in viewing since FreeWheel began issuing the data in 2010. The company attributes the dip to seasonal viewing patterns, along with fewer new episodes of professionally produced content being introduced in both linear and digital markets.
Consumers OK With Increased Ad Loads
The number of ads placed in long-form content (20+ minutes) significantly increased in Q4, jumping 38% from 5.02 in Q3 to 6.92. In fact, the number of ads placed in long-form content more than doubled when compared to Q1 (3.1) and Q2 (2.91).
Yet, despite the increased ad loads for long-form content, completion rates rose to 88% from 82% in Q3 (see link above), indicating that consumers are accepting the increased ad loads for the content they value most. According to a February 2012 report from Ooyala, online video viewers using connected TV and game consoles are the most engaged with long-form content: in Q4 2011, long-form videos (10 minutes or longer) accounted for 57% of the hours watched on a connected TV device or game console, whereas short-form videos (3 minutes or shorter) accounted for 19%. By comparison, long-form videos accounted for 29% of the hours watched on a mobile device, while short-form videos accounted for 36%.
Tablet Views Peak in the Evening
Data from the “FreeWheel Video Monetization Report, Full Year 2011” indicates that iPad viewing showed a significant peak during primetime hours, from 9PM to 11PM. By contrast, wired video peaked during the day, at around 4PM. iPhones, Android, and iPod/iPod Touch devices all peaked between around 8PM and 10PM, although their highs were far less dramatic than that displayed by the iPad.
- Mid-form content (5-20 minutes) ad loads increased throughout the year, from 0.75 in Q1 to 1.22 in Q4. Short-form content (less than 5 minutes) had an average of 0.54 ads per video in Q4, up from 0.45 in Q3.
- Mid-rolls as an ad position (most often placed in long-form content) grew by 146% during the year, while pre-rolls, the position most favored for short-form, grew by 35%.
About the Data: FreeWheel served over 9 billion video ads (pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll) in Q4 2011 and made ad decisions for over 12.2 billion video views. For the full year of 2011, FreeWheel served nearly 28 billion video ad views and made ad decisions for over 45 billion video views. While the data is primarily US-based activity on behalf of US-based content producers, a small percentage of the viewing occurs outside the US. The data 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.