Headlines would suggest that TV is dead, or at least is enduring a slow death.

The reality is that TV viewing is very different than what it was three years ago, let alone 10. How we define “TV” is still being debated. Is it the content, device or pipe that presents it to the viewer? But one thing is clear: With the proliferation of devices now powering TV content in the home, the living room dynamic has radically changed.

The new living room is a hybrid environment, home to the best of linear and digital television. While viewers are increasingly choosing to build their own schedules—comprising a blend of live, on demand and DVR—they tend to gravitate toward the best (and usually largest) screen possible.

FreeWheel’s latest Video Monetization Report (Q2 2018) shows that with every quarter, increasing volumes of digital and dynamically delivered video advertising are accessed via set top boxes (STB) and over-the-top (OTT) devices on the big screen. This now accounts for 57 percent of all non-linear impressions.

As a result, the new living room is not only the point where traditional TV viewing and online content converge, but also the center of a multi-viewer experience. With multiple members of each household gathered around a single TV set powered by an increasing number of devices, the potential for ads placed within premium digital video and broadcast content is vast.

The power of TV, in all its incarnations, to drive advertising impact is greater than ever. Yet, so far, it remains underutilized by many advertisers. As TV evolves, knowledge and capabilities across the value chain must evolve, too.

Keeping pace with viewers habits
The advertising industry must adapt and catch up with the viewing habits of the modern consumer. Unfortunately, legacy organizational, technology and measurement challenges have prevented advertising from following the audiences.

With enhanced addressability capabilities coming to the big screen, advertisers should be following eyeballs and working around the technology limitations that exist today to capture reach and precision opportunities in the most compelling advertising environment: premium video.

The FreeWheel Council for Premium Video has released “A Buyer’s Guide to the New Living Room,” which is intended to help those in the advertising planning and buying world fully grasp the opportunities offered by OTT, STB VOD and addressable linear, and how a holistic approach can harness them.

Some of the key takeaways from this guide:

– Become a subject matter expert in the new living room to gain advantage for your clients while these channels are still nascent and growing
– Create a plan using complementary channels to balance reach and precision, leveraging the common and unique attributes of each
– Work through measurement hurdles and leverage the tools and KPIs that are available to access these engaged yet underserved audiences
– Personalize messaging and manage frequency through addressable options with creative diversity on all campaigns delivered to the new living room
– Optimize for scale by adjusting your KPIs for platforms as necessary such as viewability targets in channels that aren’t able to be measured
– Globally, 81 percent of people use their TV set to watch broadcast TV at least once a month, making it the most popular media channel. Combined with streaming video (69 percent of all adults use the technology, but 86 percent of those ages 18-36), which is increasingly being viewed on the big screen, there is no question that the living room remains a core environment to engage with valuable audiences at scale.

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FreeWheel: Premium video views up 22% YoY

FreeWheel, a Comcast company and advertising management solution, has launched its Q2 2018 Video Monetisation Report (VMR), which shows continued growth in premium video, thanks to major events such as the FIFA World Cup, and the way broadcasters are increasingly collaborating to create a more data-enabled future for TV advertising.

In Europe, despite the arrival of new data regulations with the GDPR, premium content saw an increase of 31 per cent in ad views and 22 per cent in video views during the second quarter of the year, compared with the same period in 2017. In contrast, digital programmatic spending took a big hit immediately post-GDPR, with exchanges reporting anything between a 25 and 40 per cent reduction in demand.

‘Big screen’ viewing on TV sets captured almost a third (30 per cent) of all ad views during the period. This may be partly attributed to the screening of the World Cup over the summer – still the most watched TV event globally – as fans sought the best quality viewing experience to watch the spectacle.

Data from the VMR indicates three key trends across Europe between April and June this year:

– Premium video continued to flourish across all devices and platforms. STB and OTT saw year-over-year growth of 21 per cent and 41 per cent respectively, while mobile ad views grew by 46 per cent compared to 2017
– As streaming services continue to grow in popularity, broadcasters are reacting to the competition. Sky is building Netflix into its premium service, while others are collaborating – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and network operator Arqiva are joining forces to invest in the Freeview platform, to offer combined free-to-view, live and on demand television
– Direct-sold deals still dominate the market, accounting for 88 per cent of premium video ads sold in Q2 – up 41 per cent year-over-year

Additional findings from the Q2 report included:

– Operator-driven syndication grew strongly this quarter, now accounting for 17 per cent of ad views, as publishers strive to provide consumers with content whenever and wherever they want it
– Premium video continues to be an engaging format for viewers, as ad completion rates remained high in Q2, with pre-roll completion at 91 per cent for both live and full episode, and mid-roll completion rates at 94 per cent for live and 96 per cent for full episode.

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FreeWheel: “TV advertising has never been stronger”

FreeWheel, a Comcast Company, has released its Q2 2018 Video Monetization Report (VMR), which tracks marketplace trends on premium video consumption and advertising across STB VoD, OTT, Desktop, Smartphone and Tablets.

The report found that in Q2 2018, the majority of premium, digital video ad views (57 per cent) in the US were delivered to the TV screen versus other digital devices, highlighting the increase of OTT and STB VoD advertising and reinforcing the importance of the “new living room” for advertisers. All devices, however, showed year-over-year increases in ad views, with smartphones showing the most growth (76 per cent).

The Q2 VMR highlights the increasing digital capabilities of TV and video — from the perspective of both consumer consumption and advertising capabilities — that are driving new opportunities and increased ROI for marketers. While TV has always provided high-impact reach, the proliferation of new distribution channels combines scale, with data-driven targeting and measurable attribution.

According to FreeWheel’s General Manager, David Clark, this marketing trifecta is what makes premium video uniquely positioned to grow its share of ad dollars, even in the face of competition from other data-rich, digital players.

“TV — which now includes premium video content distributed via an array of digital platforms — has never been stronger as an advertising channel. The ability to build targeted awareness with TV at the top of the funnel, then measure the impact of that exposure across devices, is now a reality,” Clark added. “The final piece of the puzzle is allowing marketers to use technology to plan and buy TV with added efficiency and automation. We’ve made some great strides in this area, and continue to work with our partners to build the next-generation, TV ad platform that meets the unique demands of the TV ecosystem.”

The growing role of automation and data-enablement in the premium video ad market is illustrated by the finding that 14 per cent of total ad views in Q2 were placed programmatically, an increase of 58 per cent year-over-year. The vast majority of these programmatic transactions were conducted via private marketplaces between buyers and sellers.

Technological advances are changing the premium video experience for consumers as well. Ad views within live programming now constitute 33 per cent of the market, despite the technological challenges posed by real-time viewing environments. Furthermore, publishers are focusing more on viewer experience by utilising technology to limit creative repetition, with only 11 per cent of creative repeated once or more within full episode player content.

Additional Q2 2018 VMR Highlights:

– Premium digital video viewing* continues double-digit YOY growth. Video views in Q2 grew by 31 per cent year-over-year, and ad views reflected an increase of 35 per cent.

– Digital viewing is not just for series bingeing. Live viewing is increasingly important for premium digital video, representing 33 per cent of all ad views, with sports content comprising 66 per cent of this total, and news comprising an additional 10 per cent.

– Consumers are going digital, but Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPDs) aren’t going anywhere. Despite a downward trend in traditional subscribers, consumers watched 111 per cent more content YOY on MVPD platforms, by accessing TV Everywhere capabilities or “skinny bundle” services. 39 per cent of all premium video content is now viewed via these syndication channels (versus directly from the publishers’ platforms).

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Live sports drives one-quarter of U.S. online ad views

Freewheel’s Q4 2017 Video Monetization Report says a lot about how the premium video ecosystem is changing. For example, live is starting to drive ad view growth, the TV is the place to be for engagement, and the smartphone is the swiss-army-knife of streaming.

Freewheel says that total U.S. video views grew 26% in 2017 and total ad views by 22%. However, where the viewing is taking place continues to shift as consumers embrace the connected television and entrench around the smartphone.

Live comes to online

We have seen a steady change in the way premium sports providers approach online delivery. The Internet has proven a remarkably effective mechanism for deepening the engagement with tent-pole events such as the Olympics and the World Cup. Sports such as football and soccer are increasingly available live online through authenticated apps, vMVPDs like Sling TV, and for free through platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

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All this activity appears to be paying off. Freewheel says U.S. ad views in live video increased from 19% in Q4 2016 to 31% in Q4 2017. What’s more, sport dominates the category with over three-quarters of all live ad-views. In other words, sports are driving one-quarter of total ad-views. Entertainment continues to lead in ad views but only grew its share slightly, from 49% to 53%. The big loser in 2017 was short clips. Its share of ad views halved, to 16%.

The television extends dominance

ad view share by content type Q4 2017Overall, half of all U.S. ads tracked by Freewheel were delivered to the TV in Q4 2017, up from 41% one year earlier. Pay TV set-top boxes accounted for 1-in-5 of those views. Operators started deploying ad insertion technology for the VOD systems in 2014, and this effort ramped up in 2016 and 2017.

Nearly one-third of all ad views came from connected television devices in Q4 2017, an increase of 27% one year earlier. The increasing use of authenticated TV content provider apps and ad-supported services like Crackle and The Roku Channel is one factor in the continued growth of this category. However, the rise of vMVPDs could be the biggest factor.

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vMVPDs like Sling TV and YouTube TV enjoyed rapid growth in 2017. TiVo Q4 2017 numbers suggest the size of the vMVPD market could be much larger than the 4.5 million estimated. Dish Network reports that Sling TV has 2.2 million subscribers. YouTube TV could already have more than 4 million subscribers, and it could also mean the total number of vMVPD subscribers is almost double the previous estimates.

The smartphone is the swiss army knife of video

In the free 2016 white paper The Secret Life of Streamers, nScreenMedia found that the smartphone was being used about evenly between live, long-form, and short-form video. According to Freewheel, this is still the case. The company says about one-third of ad views on the smartphone come from each of the live, long-form, and clip categories of content.

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OTT: Video Starts Up 26%, Ad Views Up 17% in Q2 2017

The second quarter was a strong time for streaming video (and streaming video ads). According to the Q2 2017 Video Monetization Report put out video monetization company FreeWheel, online video starts were up 26 percent year-over-year and video ad views were up 17 percent. FreeWheel sees a mix of forces creating this rise, including viewers increasingly choosing to drop cable and satellite subscriptions, broadcast TV ratings falling, and companies from both the broadcast and online worlds aggressively launching new online properties to increase their supply of premium inventory.

Advertisers like what they see, as their investments in online video are up. eMarketer predicted a 24 percent year-over-year rise in digital video ad spending for 2017, the report notes. In Q2, most of that inventory was direct sold, while programmatic channels were used to fill in the gaps and monetize unsold programming.

Much of the rise came from the increased adoption of over-the-top (OTT) video, which made up 29 percent of all online video ad views in the second quarter. Desktop views declined to 27 percent, which FreeWheel says is the lowest rate since it started tracking the area 5 years ago.

In Q2 2017, 61 percent of online video ad views came from full episodes (with views up 17 percent YOY) and 21 percent came from live video (with views up 40 percent YOY). Short clips saw a decline to 18 percent, with views down 2 percent YOY.

For more, download the full report for free (registration required).