A report this morning from Rhythm New Media, a firm that develops mobile video apps for TV programs and runs its own mobile video ad network, provides fresh reasons to be bullish on mobile video. The report is based on an estimated 250 million video views/month that Rhythm has tracked in Q1 '10 on its mobile video platform. Two key stats that jumped out for me: an average 86.7% completion rate and a 1.7% click through rate for its 15-second pre-rolls. The latter is roughly consistent with data Will reported from Rhythm about 6 months ago. It is noteworthy that Rhythm's click through rates are holding steady as it scales up.
To get a sense of how Rhythm's mobile data stacks up against online video advertising data, I compared it to a report eMarketer and YuMe released based on Q4 '09 data, which showed a steady decline in click through and completion rates for pre-rolls. Rhythm's completion and click through rates are 24% and 56% higher than those in the eMarketer/YuMe report. While it's a bit of an apples vs. oranges comparison because YuMe's much larger network includes many different types of video content (vs. Rhythm's TV program only) and the ads YuMe surveyed were a mix of 15-second and 30-second spots (vs. Rhythm's 15-second only), the differences may be an early indicator of the contrast between mobile and online video.
Rhythm's CEO Ujjal Kohli, whom I spoke to earlier this week, explained that the numbers underscored his view of how mobile video is a perfect compliment to TV. He said that as opposed to the fast-paced multi-tasking of online video, mobile video is consumed in a more focused manner, while still retaining all of the interactive features and metrics of online. This is a plausible explanation for why the Rhythm completion rate can be much higher than the online video industry's average - fewer distractions and more focus on the content.
Another interesting chart in the new report is the day-part breakdown, where video viewing on mobile devices was equally spread throughout the day. Ujjal asserted that this allows advertisers to avoid the clutter and confusion that comes during the overloaded primetime TV block, which only accounts for 25% of mobile viewing on Rhythm's network vs. 80% typically on TV. Ujjal added that viewing throughout the day-part hours was also spread equally between male and female viewers, again different from TV, where most of the day-part viewers are female.
However, Ujjal stressed that these numbers should not necessarily be taken as trends in mobile video industry at large, commenting that Rhythm is different from many of its competitors servicing only premium studio content and allows interactive in-stream ad insertion. We're still in the earliest stages of mobile video consumption, but with smartphone and tablet adoption poised to accelerate, there's no question that mobile video usage is going to grow rapidly. How mobile video ads perform, in an absolute sense and relative to online video ads, will no doubt be closely followed.
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