FreeWheel Reports Ad Views Increased 27% in 2nd Quarter

FreeWheel, Comcast’s ad-tech company, said that video advertising views rose in the second quarter as industry alliances gave targeted commercials more scale and made buying them simpler.

Video views on FreeWheel’s platform rose 13% and ad views rose 27%, according to FreeWheel’s new Video Marketplace Report.

Powering the increase in ad views was the growth in connected TV. Ad views on connected TV were up 48%, while views via set-top box VOD and mobile were fairly flat.

Ad views in live content were up 44%. Ad views in full episodes were up 19% and ad views in shorter clips increased 9%.

Although representing just 7% of ad views, those that were audience targeted were up 82%. Most of those ads aimed at audiences are targeted based on behaviors.

Auto industry advertisers significantly index higher on audience targeted ads driven by the value of targeting vehicle intender groups to drive conversions.

“With the right technology, data management processes, and business agreements in place, demand for data-backed audience targeting has rapidly increased,” the FreeWheel report said.

“Industry groups also contribute to the increased demand for audience buys. For example, consortiums like OpenAP are creating standardized segments to make audience buying easier. Still, there is a continuing need for the supply side to support a bring-your-own-data” approach so advertisers and agencies can activate bespoke lists,” the report added.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit, along with Viacom and Fox are the main partners in OpenAP.

Most of the ads run by Freewheel were bought in direct deals. Only 19% were purchases using programmatic technology.

But the volume of programmatic deals grew faster--45% to 23%--than direct deals.

“Open exchange transactions are still a small part of programmatic deals (13% share) suggesting that buyers and sellers are not yet ready to give up on the direct relationship even when it’s executed through automated channels,” the report said.

For the second quarter, ad completion rates on full-episode and live content in the U.S. remained extremely high, between 87% and 98% for both pre-roll and mid-roll, the report found.

“The value of premium video is now well established and the industry is focused on finding ways to drive scale, sophistication and simplicity by connecting together multiple existing platforms. With this focus, we expect audience targeted campaigns, which increased 82% this quarter, almost four-times as fast as the industry, to continue to grow at pace,” said David Dworin, who heads FreeWheel’s Advisory Services Team and was one of the lead authors of this report.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.