Thursday, November 15, 2012, 9:43 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Validating the appeal of long-form (over 20 minutes) online video, the completion rate for such content set a new record of 93%, in Q3 '12, according to data released yesterday in FreeWheel's latest Video Monetization Report. FreeWheel specializes in delivering video ads against professional video only, and services most of the major TV networks, so long-form primarily means TV programs.
Completion rates were in the 80%-90% range until Q2 '12 when they nudged up to 91%. The increase in completion rates has occurred despite the fact that the number of ads in long-form have increased from just over 3 back in Q1 '11 to almost 7 in Q3 '12. Viewers clearly love their online access to favorite TV programs and are willing to sit through more ads as a quid pro quo for that access.
The increased ad loads contributed to a 49% YOY increase in ads viewed, while video views only increased 17% YOY. Interestingly, the number of ads in long-form actually dropped a bit from Q2's total of just under 8. FreeWheel attributed this to re-run seasonality - fewer new shows airing on TV and therefore fewer ads running against them online. It will be interesting to see what happens in Q4. In the past I've cautioned against content providers ramping ad loads too aggressively out of concern for the user experience.
Meanwhile, the FreeWheel data also shows how video viewing is migrating off of the desktop. In Q3, 1.3 billion video views - almost 10% of the views FreeWheel tracked - occurred beyond the desktop, up from 4.1% in Q1 and 8.2% in Q2. No surprise, Apple devices dominated, with 60% of all non-desktop views, though Android is coming on strong, with 31.5%. The London Olympics were the best example yet of the shifting landscape, as nearly 10 million devices were authenticated for viewing. The non-desktop share is almost certain to keep rising as tablet ownership becomes more widespread
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