VOD Ad Views on Set-Tops

Consumption of ad-supported video continues to grow among connected devices, but viewing of video-on-demand fare with advertising on traditional set-top boxes also remains a key area of growth. That’s according to a new study from FreeWheel, the multiscreen ad-tech company acquired by Comcast in 2014.

Per its Video Monetization Report for third-quarter 2017, FreeWheel found that ad views on set-top boxes jumped 54% year-over-year, outpacing the growth on other platforms, including over-the-top devices, smartphones and tablets. Ad views on PCs/desktops have completely flattened out.

In Q3 2017, VOD on OTT devices and set-tops accounted for half of dynamically delivered premium video ad views, FreeWheel found in the study.

The onward surge of ad-supported VOD is also apparent elsewhere. Canoe, the AVOD joint venture of Comcast, Cox Communications and Charter Communications, announced last week that it generated 23 billion ad impressions in 2017, up 30% from 2016.

On a broader basis, FreeWheel found that ad views grew 24% in Q3 2017 year-over-year, while video starts jumped 30%.

Together, full episodes (VOD) and live TV combined for 80% of premium video ad views, with the balance coming from clips (up to five minutes long).

Ad-completion rates (the measurement of ads that were completed once started) remained in the high double-digits for clips, full episodes and live TV. In the pre-roll category, ad completion rates for live TV were higher than for full episodes (VOD) or shorter video clips. However, the rates were highest during mid-roll breaks, “where viewers were already immersed in the content,” FreeWheel noted.

The study also found that ad repetition rates for full-episode content improved in the quarter. About 86% of full-episode ads did not repeat within a stream. Only 3% of full episodes tied in two or more commercial repeats, FreeWheel said.

“Publishers recognize how much creative repetition negatively affects users and are implementing strategies to support advertiser diversity such as increasing programmatic marketplace transactions,” FreeWheel said.

Likewise, FreeWheel’s study indicated that programmatic ad views in Q3 grew 19% year-over-year, the strongest growth rate of any quarter so far from data collected in 2017.

FreeWheel said ad loads in Q3 were fairly consistent across devices, with an average of 4.1, but rose slightly from the year-ago quarter (3.9).