Which Online Video Content Genres Account for the Most Ad Views?

March 3, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Connected Device Comparisons | Creative & Formats | Digital | Mobile Phone | Tablet | Video

FreeWheel-Online-Video-Ad-View-Growth-by-Content-Genre-Mar2014Online video continues to grow quickly, with video views up 31% year-over-year in Q4 and video ad views up a similar 30%, according to the latest quarterly report [download page] from FreeWheel. The study indicates that many trends established in prior reports – such as ad completion rates holding steady as ad loads increase – remained true in Q4. Of note: FreeWheel maintains that premium digital video inventory is becoming more like traditional TV, not only in the length of the ads, but also in the genres in which they’re most commonly viewed.

As the report shows, the content genres that had the fastest year-over-year increases in ad views – documentary/reality (66%), scripted drama (64%) and sports (50%) – are also the ones that tend to dominate primetime TV programming, per Nielsen’s figures.

Those genres are also among the top in terms of share of ad views. Scripted drama led the way in Q4, accounting for 20% of ad views, followed by sports (18%), with news (14%), documentary/reality (13%) and music/clips (also 13%) close behind. That’s similar to the relative order of prime-time TV viewership also, according to earlier Nielsen data (recognizing that those numbers may have changed over the past couple of years).

And with long-form content sporting the most rapid increase in video ad views (86% year-over-year), the FreeWheel report notes that those genres outlined above are also the ones with the largest share of ad views during long-form content (20+ minutes). Scripted drama (41% share) is the clear leader, followed by live sports (17%), reality/unscripted (16%) and scripted comedy (14%). (This data limited to programmers and multichannel video programming distributors – MVPDs – which tend to generate most of their revenue from linear TV services, as opposed to digital pure-plays)

What it all means, per FreeWheel, is that “format popularity is consistent across screens.” And perhaps that shouldn’t be too surprising: a study early last year from Ooyala declared that “online video is quickly becoming online television.”

Other Findings:

  • Ad views also increased on short-form (0-5 minutes) content (+22% year-over-year) and mid-form (5-20 minutes) content (+13%).
  • For programmers and MVPDs, only 36% of ad views occurred during short-form content, as opposed to 79% of views for digital pure-plays.
  • Live views accounted for 9.9% of total ad views during Q4, almost double the 5.3% share from Q4 2012.
  • Mobile devices accounted for 19% share of total ad views in Q4, led by mobile phones (10% share) and followed by tablets (7%) and OTT devices (2%).
  • Tablets accounted for some 20% of long-form content viewing, versus 14% share for mobile phones.
  • Ad views on long-form authenticated content grew by 268% year-over-year, continuing rapid growth observed in prior reports. Live and other long-form content comprised the vast majority – 92.9% – of authenticated ad views.
  • Views saw 3.2 ads per long-form break, up from a 2.8 average a year earlier. Completion rates remained relatively steady across short-form, mid-form and long-form content types.
  • 30-second ad views made up 68% share of total ad views in long-form content, up from 57% share a year earlier. However, 30-second ads’ share of mid-form ad views dropped from 65% to 56%; their share of short-form ad views also fell, from 55% to 48% share.

About the Data: The dataset used for the report is one of the largest available on the usage and monetization of professional, rights managed video content, and comprised over 75 billion video views and 60 billion video ad views in 2013.

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