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Watch This: More Evidence of Online Video Ad Acceptance

Two online viewing reports published this week agree that online video viewing – including acceptance of video advertising and a boom in mobile access – blasted off in 2012. The upward trends are expected to continue to draw viewership away from traditional TV delivery in the coming year.

In separate assessments of 2012 online viewing data, comScore, the online measurement firm, and FreeWheel, a technology and advisory services provider, decreed that digital video content is “migrating across platforms” (as comScore described it) and will appeal to more advertisers.

In its 48-page report2013 Digital Future in Focus comScore contends that 2012 “was a pivotal year for video media,” with an “average of 75 million viewers every day” and nearly 40 billion videos streamed per month. It acknowledged that YouTube “drives the lion’s share” of viewing, but cited long-form video content, including Netflix and TV network programs on-demand, as the new powerhouses of Internet-delivered video. comScore concludes that  2013 will “be defined by an evolved consumer with high expectations for a flexible multi-screen viewing experience.”

It forecasts that online video consumers will “become more platform agnostic.” Since “the demand for high-impact video advertising exceed[s] the available [online] inventory,” comScore expects that online video will “continue …strong monetization momentum – particularly as targeting improves.”  

The comScore report also calculates that video advertising as a percentage of total online consumption climbed from about 7% to nearly 12% during the course of 2012.  

FreeWheel, in its slimmer (five-page) "Video Monetization Report"focuses on the trends in Web video advertising, which it says increasingly resemble TV commercials; 42% of online video ads now run 30-seconds, compared to 15-second video ads, now accounting for 34% of online video ads. 

More significantly, FreeWheel says that the “video ad completion rates are at an all-time high” – with 93% of viewers of “long-form” content (20 minutes or longer) and 81% of “mid-form” content (5 to 20 minutes) watching all the commercials associated with the video program.

It attributes this rise in acceptance to two dynamics:  content owners adopting “acceptable content-to advertising ratios” and consumers’ understanding “the trade-off between ‘free’ access to professional, rights-managed content and the presence of advertising.”

FreeWheel’s report points out that 2012 online video ad volume jumped 47% above 2011.  It also notes that video viewing on smartphones, tablets and other “non-traditional” devices comprises 12% of total video viewing up from 2% a year earlier.  iPad and iPhone usage dominate the mobile platforms and will do so until there is a “break-out tablet” using the Android format, FreeWheel’s data show (although in the smartphone category, Android phones and Apple iOS phones have comparable video viewing levels).

The comScore and FreeWheel evaluations – the latest in a never-ending series of hopeful (and hypeful) analyses – affirm the growing role of online video programs and advertising.

And their competitive threat to traditional viewing.