Majority of digital video ad views (57%) in the U.S. are already delivered on the TV screen

The majority of digital video ad views (57%) in the U.S. were delivered on the TV screen (STB VOD + OTT), in Q2 2018. In Europe, the share was 30%. These are the conclusions of FreeWheel, the Comcast video ad exchange. This week, FreeWheel released its Q2 2018 Video Monetization Report (VMR), which tracks marketplace trends on premium video consumption and advertising across Set-Top Box Video on Demand (STB VOD), Over-the-Top (OTT), Desktop, Smartphone, and Tablets.

Freewheel says this highlights 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%).

Ad View Composition and Growth, by Device, US

The Q2 VMR, titled “Premium Video: Delivering Value Across the Marketing Funnel,” 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. 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.”

David Clark, FreeWheel’s General Manager

14% of total ad views in Q2 were placed programmatically


The growing role of automation and data-enablement in the premium video ad market is illustrated by the finding that 14% of total ad views in Q2 were placed programmatically, an increase of 58% year-over-year. The vast majority of these programmatic transactions on 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% of the market, despite the technological challenges posed by real-time viewing environments. Furthermore, publishers are focusing more on viewer experience by utilizing technology to limit creative repetition, with only 11% of creative repeated once or more within full episode player content.

Additional Q2 2018 Video Monetization Report Highlights:

  • Premium digital video viewing continues double-digit YOY growth. Video views in Q2 grew by 31% year-over-year, and ad views reflected an increase of 35%.
  • Digital viewing is not just for series bingeing. Live viewing is increasingly important for premium digital video, representing 33% of all ad views, with sports content comprising 66% of this total, and news comprising an additional 10%.
  • Consumers are going digital, but Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (MVPDs) aren’t going anywhere. Despite a downward trend in traditional subscribers, consumers watched 111% more content YOY on MVPD platforms, by accessing TV Everywhere capabilities or “skinny bundle” services. 39% of all premium video content is now viewed via these syndication channels (versus directly from the publishers’ platforms).
  • Advertisers in premium video are diverse, but key TV-centric categories show room for growth. Top ad categories utilizing premium video include Entertainment & Media (18%), Consumer Packaged Goods (15%), Financial & Business Services (13%), Auto (11%), Retail (11%) and Healthcare & Pharma (7%).
Ad View Composition and Growth, by Device, Europe