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OTT Ad Views Show Huge Gains in the U.S., Finds FreeWheel

In the third quarter of 2018, OTT devices (including connected TVs) were responsible for 41 percent of the ad views on premium streamed video content. Not only did OTT get the largest slice of the pie, but it showed huge gains: That percent reflects a 45 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase from 29 percent in Q3 2017. This is according to a Q3 2018 report from Video monetization company FreeWheel.

The next biggest section went to phones with 19 percent of ad views (reflecting a 63 percent YOY increase). Those two areas were the only ones to show significant gains.

STB VOD and desktop computers, on the other hand, showed big declines. While STB VOD (meaning video on-demand running through cable or satellite boxes) got 17 percent of ad views and grew 11 percent YOY, the area’s share still declined since it didn’t grow as fast as other categories. Meanwhile, the numbers for desktop views have been falling for 5 years. While desktop took 16 percent of ad views this quarter, that’s a 4 percent YOY decline from 28 percent last year (and a huge fall from 52 percent in Q3 2015!).

These numbers reflect the changing pattern of how Americans consume their streamed video.

“Smartphone and OTT device growth outstripped all other devices at 63 percent and 45 percent respectively, marking them out as the platforms viewers are trending towards,” says a FreeWheel blog post. “The combined ad view share of both devices now makes up 60 percent of all ad views.”

FreeWheel also looked at what type of content people are watching on each device. On STB VOD, 100 percent of all viewing is for full episodes over 5 minutes long. OTT devices are split evenly between full episodes and live video, while smartphones are used most often for full episodes and less often for live video. The only platform where short clips (under 5 minutes) have a large audience is desktop.

These numbers come from FreeWheel’s Q3 2018 Video Monetization Report, which reflects ad data collected through the FreeWheel platform. The full report is available for free online (no registration required).

FreeWheel and the Growth of OTT

This chart shows ad views by devices over time.


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