One of the key trends over the last twelve months has been the boom in online video and it would seem that there is a commensurate rise in acceptance of the increased ad loads for content consumers value most.
The latest FreeWheel 'Video Monetization Report'— analysing more than 45 billion video views and nearly 28 billion video ad views throughout 2011 from sources such as ESPN, Discovery, AOL, VEVO, Turner, Fox, CBS and A+E Networks—has revealed that consumers watched more than twice as many ads during videos 20+ minutes long in Q4 2011 than they did in early 2011.
In the previous survey, the company had suggested that online video had reached a crucial inflection point with faster growth of video ad views than video views. The current survey shows that the trend continued into Q4 with no degradation of completion rates, especially among long-form content which can take higher ad loads.
Despite what it said were surveys that may indicate otherwise, FreeWheel's noted that the data showed that viewers continue to accept an increased numbers of ads in order to view valued content. Completion rates for video ads held steady at 88% during the quarter. Ad loads, or the number of video ads per video view, now stands at just over 7 commercials. Not surprisingly the rocketing uptake of the iPads contributed greatly to online video viewing.
Looking at which types of advertising were providing most successful, mid-roll video ad placements had the most dramatic growth in 2011, for three reasons: more mid-form (5-20 minutes) and long-form content was made available online, more mid-roll ad pods (or commercial breaks) were created within that content, and more video ads per pod were added.
Yet even though digital video viewing has grown at a rapid pace over the past two years, FreeWheel cautions that unless content producers continue to introduce broad libraries of content to market and widely distribute that content to broader audiences, their ability to capture advertising revenue will slow accordingly. It also warns that there is a finite amount of ad inventory available in digital video and that if content producers push ad loads too high, they risk lowering completion rates (and thus losing viewers). The only solution, FreeWheel advises, is to increase inventory to keep pace with viewer demand.