Analysis for 'FreeWheel'

  • FreeWheel: Connected TV and VOD Viewing Drive Over Half of All Premium Video Views

    Connected TV devices and set-top box VOD now account for 57% of all premium video views in the U.S. according to FreeWheel’s Q2 Video Monetization Report (VMR) released today. It is the first time CTV and STB VOD have driven more than half of premium video views, and is up from 49% in Q2 ’17.

    However, the big reason for the jump is due to CTV, which jumped from 29% of all premium video views in Q2 ’17 to 41% in Q2 ’18. STB VOD actually declined over the same period from 20% to 16%. I’ve believed for a long time that CTV viewing of SVOD and other ad-supported on-demand OTT programming would eventually chip away at traditional STB-delivered VOD. The Q2 results appear to show this now occurring.

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  • FreeWheel: Live Viewing Surged 36% in 2016 on Sports and Politics

    FreeWheel has released its 2016 year-end Video Monetization Report,  revealing, among things, that ad views in live streams grew 36% in 2016, powered by marquee sports events and the U.S. presidential election that were streamed to connected devices. FreeWheel cited the Summer Olympics, Super Bowl 50, Game 7 of the World Series, and the first presidential debate in particular as major contributors.

    More broadly, live video helped drive the 24th consecutive quarterly increase in both content views (up 20%) and ad views (up 17%) in Q4 ’16. For the full year 2016, content views increased 26% and ad views increased 24%.

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  • FreeWheel VMR: Desktop Declines to 34% of Ad Views as Entertainment Focus Grows

    FreeWheel has released its Q2 2016 Video Monetization Report, once again sharing valuable insights on premium video viewing and monetization. Continuing its precipitous drop from prior quarters, desktop’s share of video ad viewing declined to 34%, its lowest level yet in the U.S. That was down from over 62% one year ago, in Q2 ’15 and 90% just 3 years ago, in Q2 ’13.

    While desktop’s number of ad views has stayed steady, the rapid growth of mobile and connected devices has exploded, up 60% in each of the past 2 quarters alone. In Europe, desktop viewing is stronger than in the U.S., with a 43% share, though that’s down from 66% a year ago.

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  • FreeWheel: Video Ad Views on Devices Surpass Desktop/Laptop for First Time

    In a sign of how extensively connected and mobile devices have proliferated, video ads viewed on them have surpassed video ads viewed via browsers on desktops and laptops for the first time, as measured by FreeWheel in its new Q4 ’15 Video Monetization Report.

    As seen in the graphic below, while desktops/laptops accounted for 40% of video ads views (up .1% vs. Q4 ’14), video ads viewed on connected TV devices accounted for 22% (up 76% YOY), with smartphones accounting for another 19% (up 92% YOY) and tablets at 9% (up 40% YOY). Combined, these devices account for 50% of ad views. FreeWheel also reported 10% of of ad views occurring on pay-TV operators’ set-top box VOD.

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  • FreeWheel’s Q3 Video Monetization Report Shows Continued Industry Growth

    FreeWheel has released its Q3 ’15 Video Monetization Report (VMR), which reveals the continuation of a number of important industry trends. Both ad views and video views grew 28% vs. Q3 ’14, consistent with growth rates seen over the past few quarters.

    Live video was once again the fastest-growing genre, with a 113% year-over-year growth, compared to 30% for long-form and 9% for short-form. Sports was again the biggest driver of live with 63% of sports video viewed live, compared with 17% of news video viewed live (other genres were in low single digits). News had the biggest proportion of short-form (76%), while Entertainment (60%) ad Kids (59%) had the biggest proportion of long-form.

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  • FreeWheel: Long-Form and Live Viewing Drove Video Ad Views in Q2 ’15

    FreeWheel has released its Q2 '15 Video Monetization Report, finding once again that long-form and live viewing drove the biggest increases in video ad views. Live viewing increased 146% vs. Q2 ’14 with long-form up 26% vs. Q2 ’14. Short-form again lagged, up just 16% year-over-year. Overall, ad views increased by 32% and video views increased by 25%, both vs. Q2 ’14.

    For broadcast and cable TV networks plus pay-TV operators (which FreeWheel calls “programmers”), 66% of their ad views in Q2 ’15 came from the combination of long-form (35%) and live (31%). As always, the biggest share of live viewing was sports at 78% (though that was down from 82% in Q1 ’15), distantly followed by news at 15%. For long-form, scripted drama had the highest share (42%), followed by reality (26%) and comedy (17%).

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  • FreeWheel: TV Everywhere Viewing Triples in Q1 '15 Anchored By Live Sports

    FreeWheel has released its Q1 '15 Video Monetization Report, which reinforces many of the key trends seen in recent quarters. Of note, TV Everywhere viewing increased 328% vs. Q1 '14, now accounting for 57% of long-form content viewed. Once again, live content grew the fastest, up 140% year-over-year. Sports accounted for 82% of live ad views, basically flat from Q4 '14.

    Overall, FreeWheel found that video views grew 40% in Q1 '15 vs. Q1 '14, with ad views up 43%, the fastest growth since 2012.

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  • FreeWheel: TV Everywhere Viewing Up Over 4x Compared To A Year Ago

    More evidence of TV Everywhere's momentum today, as FreeWheel's Q4 2014 Video Monetization Report found that 56% of long-form and live ads were viewed via authentication. That's more than 4x greater than the 13% authentication rate for long-form content in Q4 '13. Total long-form viewing was up 43% in Q4 '14 vs. the prior year.

    The new data follows Comcast's news last week that 30% of its Xfinity TV subscribers use TV Everywhere monthly. (Note Comcast owns FreeWheel).

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  • Report: TV Everywhere Viewing Spikes, Riding Surge in Live Sports Viewing

    TV Everywhere proponents will find a lot to like in FreeWheel's newly released Q2 2014 Video Monetization Report. Ad views on authenticated on demand long-form plus live-streaming content grew 619% vs. Q2 '13. Fully 38% of these content formats' ad views now come via authentication, up from just 8% a year ago.

    Live content was up 201% year-over-year, with 81% of live ad views attributable to sports. Q2 included marquee events like World Cup, NBA and NHL playoffs. The share of live content's ad views vs. total ad views increased from 8.1% in Q2 '13 to 18.3% in Q2 '14.

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  • FreeWheel Q4 '13 Report: Live Video Now Accounts for 10% of Ad Views As TV Everywhere Surges

    FreeWheel has released its Q4 '13 video monetization report, revealing among things, that ads viewed in live streaming jumped 148% vs. Q4 '12, and now account for nearly 10% of ads viewed in online video streams served by pay-TV operators and TV networks. Related, ad views in authenticated, TV Everywhere content rose 268% vs. Q4 '12. Overall, ad views were up 30% year-over-year. Brian Dutt, who manages Advisory Services at FreeWheel and oversaw the report, shared more detail behind these and other data being released.

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  • FreeWheel Q2 Report Shows Gap in Mobile Video Ads Delivered

    FreeWheel has released its quarterly Video Monetization Report for Q2 2013, and among other things, it shows a gap in video ads viewed on smartphones vs. videos viewed on them. Per the chart below, FreeWheel found that although 13.2% of videos were viewed on smartphones, just 5.6% of video ads were viewed on them. Tablets had a gap too, albeit smaller, with 4.3% of video views and 3% of ad views, while the ration of connected TV device views to ads was in-line at 1.2%-1.3%. Only desktop ad views surpassed video views in relative viewership.

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  • Study Shows Short-Form and Syndication Are Critical for Video Ad Growth

    There's a lot of excitement about online, ad-supported access to TV programs (accessible on the TV networks' own sites or via Hulu), but a new study from ad manager FreeWheel being released this morning shows that in reality, short-form content and 3rd-party syndication are the workhorses of online video advertising.

    For the first time, FreeWheel breaks down its data by "Linear + Digital" content providers (i.e. TV networks like Fox, NBC, etc.) and Digital Pure-Play (online-only content providers or aggregators like VEVO, AOL, etc. that mainly focus on short-form content). FreeWheel found that video views grew 30% in Q1 '13 vs. a year earlier, driven by a 47% increase in views from DPPs, which offset a surprising decline of 8% by L+Ds. The data is based on 16 billion video views in Q1.

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  • Report: Video Ad Loads and Completion Rates At All-Time Highs

    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.

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  • Study: Ads in Short-Form Video More Effective Than Those in Long-Form

    Advertisers and content providers continue to grapple with how to optimize ads in online video, and contributing to the dialogue, this morning AOL is releasing research indicating that ads in short-form videos are more effective than ads in long-form. Based on research involving 800 participants, AOL and its research partner Qualvu found that ads in short-form video had a 25% higher brand recall, produced 42% higher purchase intent and were 26% more likely to be liked. Short-form video is defined as less than 10 minutes with long-form 10 minutes or longer.

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  • Report: Completion Rates for Long-Form Video Up Again in Q3, to 93%

    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.

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  • Ad Loads in Long-Form Online Video More Than Double: Report

    If you catch up on your favorite TV programs by watching them online, then no doubt over the past year you've noticed, as I have, that ad volume has been growing. A new report from ad manager FreeWheel substantiates the trend: the number of video ads in long-form content (20+ minutes) has more than doubled, from just over 3 in Q1 '11 to almost 8 in Q2 '12. But in a very encouraging sign for both content providers and advertisers, an amazing 91% of these ads (including pre, mid and post-roll) are viewed to completion, the highest level FreeWheel has yet measured.

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  • Video Ads Gain Acceptance; Gap With TV Ad Loads Means Big Opportunity Remains

    Yesterday video ad manager FreeWheel released its Q2 '11 Video Monetization Report, chock full of interesting data points gathered across 11.3 billon video views and 6 billion video ad views in the quarter. Among the key findings: long-form content (defined as 20 minutes+) carried an average of nearly 3 ads per view, with an 81% ad completion rate.

    I agree with FreeWheel's observation that the implementation of multiple ads in long-form content is akin to the TV model, and the strong ad completion rates (especially for mid-rolls which were the highest at 94-96%) indicate that consumers are becoming more accepting of the fact that premium online video content will be accompanied by ads, just as it is on TV. The data suggested two additional things to me: first, while long-form monetization is improving, a huge opportunity exists in the ad load gap between online delivery and TV and second, online video completion rates could become the basis to offset DVR-driven ad-skipping.

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  • 5 Items of Interest for the Week of Nov. 15th

    After a short break, VideoNuze's Friday feature of curating 5-6 interesting online/mobile video industry news items that we weren't able to cover this week, returns today. Read them now or take them with you this weekend!

    Time Warner Cable Experiments With Lower Tier Video Package
    It's a rare day when a cable operator announces a lower-priced offering, but that's what Time Warner Cable did yesterday, unveiling a test of what it's calling "TV Essentials." The new tier, priced between $30-$40, will most notably exclude ESPN, the most expensive channel in the cable universe, meaning right away TV Essentials isn't targeted to sports fans. I've argued for a while now that pay-TV operators have ceded the low-priced/value-oriented end of the video market to Netflix (and others), which given the ongoing recession is a mistake. It will be interesting to see how the new bargain service fares; 2 things that will limit its appeal though are that no channels will be offered in HD, and that it appears those with broadband Internet and telephone services won't benefit from typical package discounts.

    Nielsen study: We're still a nation of couch pumpkins

    More evidence this week that despite all the deserved enthusiasm over online and mobile delivery, good old-fashioned TV viewing still rules in terms of hours of consumption. Nielsen said that the average person watched 143 hours of TV per month in Q2, essentially flat vs. a year ago. For homes with DVRs, hours of time watched on them nudged up a bit to about 24 1/2 hours. On a related note, this week comScore released its online video viewing data for October, which showed average viewing of 15.1 hours per person. While online video has made huge progress in the last few years, it still has a ton of room to grow to catch up with TV.

    More Videos Ads, More User Acceptance
    Speaking of the comparison between online video and TV, this week brought some interesting new data on monetization patterns for premium online video. Online video ad manager FreeWheel released data that showed mid-roll ads are the fastest-growing category of ads (up 693% since Q1), and now represent 8% of its ad volume. Completion rates have increased for pre, mid and post-roll ads this year, but notably mid-rolls have the highest completion rate, at 90%. FreeWheel's conclusion is that monetization of premium online video is starting to look a lot like TV, with ad pods inserted throughout. Going a step further, if viewer acceptance of mid-rolls stays high, then this represents a valuable opportunity for TV networks in particular to combat DVR-based ad-skipping.

    Startup Claims To Have Set-Top Hulu Can't Block
    It was inevitable that Hulu's decision to block access to its programs would set off a game of whack-a-mole, with various devices springing up to do end-arounds. Sure enough, the $99 Orb TV debuted this week, prominently positioning itself as the device that can bring Hulu (among other content) to your TV. One catch is that Orb streams video from your computer and only does so in standard definition. It addresses the "keyboard in the living room" challenge by also including a smartphone app to control the device. It's not a perfect solution, but it does provide a glimpse into the PR-unfriendly dynamic that Hulu, and the broadcast networks, have created for themselves by blocking access to their content by Google TV and others. No doubt there will be plenty more Orb-like devices to come to market in the months ahead, all positioning themselves as solving the blocking problem.

    Comcast's Top Digital Exec Amy Banse to Open New Silicon Valley Equity Fund for Cable Giant and NBC
    As Comcast enters the final stages of approval for its NBCU deal, the company this week announced a new NBCU management structure. One item that wasn't formally announced yet, but was reported by AllThingsD earlier this week was that Amy Banse, formerly head of Comcast Interactive Media (now headed by Matt Strauss), will be heading to Silicon Valley to run the combined operations of Comcast's current Comcast Interactive Capital venture arm, and NBCU's current Peacock Equity (a JV with GE). With all the distribution, technology and content assets that will be under the Comcast roof, the fund will be at the top of any online/mobile video startup's list of strategic investors. I've known Amy for a while and have enjoyed having her on industry panels; she'll be a huge asset to Comcast in the Valley venture world.
  • Exclusive: FreeWheel Serving Almost 2 Billion Video Ads/Mo, MLB is Newest Customer

    FreeWheel is on a roll, now serving almost 2 billion video ads/month, doubling its volume just since November, 2009. In addition, the company has added Major League Baseball Advanced Media to its customer roster and began implementing ads during the fall playoff season. The MLB win comes on top of recently announced customers Turner Broadcasting System and VEVO. FreeWheel's co-CEO/co-founder Doug Knopper brought me up to speed on all the news late last week.

    Doug said that part of the increase in FreeWheel's volume is attributable to the additional customers that have come on board, but he's also very excited about the year-over-year growth in ad volume FreeWheel is seeing for longer-term customers ("same store sales" if you will). FreeWheel is seeing big increases due to 3 factors: customers posting greater quantities of video, plus deepening viewership of that video (all of this borne out by comScore's '09 video consumption data); customers' improving ability to actually sell ads against these videos (reflecting the shift of budgets to the online video medium); and reduced friction through the emergence of "accepted practices" in ad operations.

    FreeWheel is also benefiting from its specialization in helping content providers monetize their video on third-party sites (e.g. YouTube, AOL, MSN, Fancast, etc.). More and more content executives are realizing that sizable viewership opportunities exist by syndicating their video outside of their own properties. Doug said that every content company FreeWheel is now talking to is interested in some kind of syndication.

    Doug described 3 types of syndication he's seeing: (1) across a family of sister corporate sites, such as providing video, which are both owned by Turner; (2) between affiliated entities like local MLB teams providing video to the main hub and (3) externally, to unaffiliated 3rd parties, such as WMG music providing videos to YouTube. Given all this syndication activity, I was interested to learn from Doug what percentage of the ads FreeWheel serves fall into each of these 3 buckets vs. what percentage are served on the customer's sites themselves. Doug said that FreeWheel is pulling those numbers together in a way that ensures its customers privacy and will get back to me when he has them.

    In addition to the above syndication activity, FreeWheel is seeing experimentation with delivering ads to mobile devices, convergence/CE players and Internet-enabled TVs. In all these cases, customized ad policies determine who sells what ad inventory and how revenue is shared and reported. Powering all of this has been part of FreeWheel's core mission from inception, making it a key player in what I've called the 'syndicated video economy."

    FreeWheel's growth echoes what I've been hearing lately from both video ad network executives and video content providers. They too are talking about rapidly rising volumes and improving monetization. As I wrote recently, I've been impressed lately by efforts to make video ads more engaging and provide a better ROI, a trend I see continuing. Taken together, while it's still relatively early days, online video advertising seems to be making great strides.

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  • 4 News Items Worth Noting from the Week of July 27th

    Following are 4 news items worth noting from the week of July 27th:

    New Pew research confirms online video's growth - Pew was the latest to offer statistics confirming that online video usage continues to soar. Among the noteworthy findings: Long-form consumption is growing as 35% of respondents say they have viewed a TV show or movie online (up from 16% in '07); watching video is widely popular, draw more people (62%) than social networking (46%), downloading a podcast (19%) or using Twitter (11%); usage is up across all age groups, but still skews young with 90% of 18-29 year olds reporting they watch online vs. 27% of 65+ year olds; and convergence is happening with 23% of people who have watched online reporting they have connected their computers to their TVs.

    FreeWheel has a very good week - FreeWheel, the syndicated video ad management company I most recently wrote about here, had a very good week. On Monday, AdAge reported that YouTube has begun a test allowing select premium partners to bring their own ads into YouTube, served by FreeWheel. Then on Wednesday, announced that it too had integrated with FreeWheel, so ads could be served for blip's producers across their entire syndication network. I caught up with FreeWheel's co-CEO Doug Knopper yesterday who added that more deals, especially with major content producers, are on the way. FreeWheel is riding the syndication wave in a big way.

    Plenty of action with CDNs - CDNs were in the news this week, as Vusion (formerly Jittr Networks) bit the dust, after going through $11 million in VC money. Elsewhere CDN Velocix (formerly CacheLogic) was acquired by Alcatel-Lucent. ALU positioned the deal as fitting with its "Application Enablement" strategy, supporting customers' needs in a "video-centric world." Limelight announced its LimelightREACH and LimelightADS services for mobile media delivery and monetization (both are based on Kiptronic, which it acquired recently). Last but not least, bellwether Akamai reported Q2 '09 earnings, that while up 5% vs. year ago, were down sequentially from Q1. Coupled with a cautious Q3 outlook, the company's stock dropped 20%.

    IAC is making big moves into online video - IAC is making no bones about its interest in online video. Last week the company unveiled Notional, a spin-out of, to be headed by that site's former editor-in-chief Ricky Van Veen. Then this week it announced another new video venture, with NBCU's former co-entertainment head Ben Silverman. IAC chief Barry Diller seems determined to push the edge of the envelope, as IAC talks up things like multi-platform distribution and brand integration. With convergence and mobile consumption starting to take hold, the timing may finally be right for these sorts of plays. At a minimum IAC will keep things interesting for industry watchers like me.

    Click here to see an aggregation of all of the week's broadband video news

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