FreeWheel has released its full year and Q4 2012 video monetization report, showing that video ad loads and ad completion rates hit their all-time highs since the first report in 2010. From Q4 '11 to Q4 '12, ads per video in long-form content (20+ minutes) were up from 6.92 to 9.4; in mid-form (5-20 minutes) were up from 1.22 to 1.27 and for short-form (under 5 minutes) were up from .54 to .66.
Despite the increase in ad loads, their completion rates were up across the board as well in Q4 '12 vs. a year earlier as well: long-form up from 88% to 93%, mid-form up from 68% to 81% and short-form up from 54% to 68%. (see both charts below) For now at least, consumers continue to show a strong willingness to sit through ads in order to view free, professional content, on which the FreeWheel report is based.
The greater intensity of ad loads contributed to a 49% year-over-year increase to 43 billion ad views in '12, compared with just a 23% YOY increase in underlying video views. Consistent with prior quarters, mid-rolls grew the fastest, followed by pre-rolls. In the report, FreeWheel notes the obvious risk that, given there's an eventual top-off point for video ad loads, unless content providers can drive more views, ad revenue will slow.
Meanwhile, adding to the numerous data points regarding the growth of smartphone and tablet-based viewing that Colin and I discussed in last Friday's podcast, FreeWheel found a 6-fold increase in non-computer video viewing, from 2% of total views in Q4 '11 to 12% in Q4 '12. More than 1.8 billion video views occurred on these mobile platforms in Q4, a remarkable 30% increase over Q3 '12. Apple iOS devices accounted for 60% of the mobile viewing, with all Android devices at 31%.