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OTT Devices Expand Their Ad Advantage

Laptop and desktop PCs remain the biggest platforms for online ad views, but TV-connected over-the-top devices, such as Roku players and Apple TV boxes, appear to be closing in fast.

OTT devices netted a 27% share of ad views on a per-device basis in Q4 of 2016 in the U.S., up from 22% a year earlier and 8% from Q4 2014, according to the latest Video Monetization Report from FreeWheel, the Comcast-owned ad-tech company.

That surge is encroaching on desktops and laptops, which held a 34% share in Q4 2016, down from 40% in the year-ago period, FreeWheel found in a report derived in part from 54 billion video views during the period and 200 billion views throughout 2016.

Another big growth area is the set-top box: Set-top VOD ad views rose 4%, to 14% in Q4 2016.

“Our data supports the strategy of putting video content on the big screen, whether it’s through developing a linear TV network or launching an OTT app,” FreeWheel noted in the report, adding that set-top VOD and OTT devices are “the largest disruptors in the market,” rising from just 9% of combined share in fourth-quarter 2014 to 41% in Q4 2016.

Advertising on authenticated TV Everywhere platforms is also on the uptick. Helped in part by live TV “tentpole” events, the share of ad views on TVE platforms for long-form and live content among U.S. programmers reached 71% in Q4 2016, 6 points better than the year-ago quarter.

Those numbers suggest consumers have overcome the “main hurdles” of authentication, Free- Wheel said.

That also bears out in the use of streaming for live content, whose growth year-on-year growth of 36% outpaced that of longform and shortform on-demand content. Longform programming (of 20 minutes-plus) held the highest ad views by content duration for U.S. and European programmers.

FreeWheel’s report also found that total video views grew 26% year-over-year, while ad views jumped 24% over that same period.