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Report: TV Everywhere Spreading

5 Mar, 2014 By: Doug McPherson

SAN MATEO, Calif. – TV Everywhere is spreading and viewers are watching more live and long-form content, according to a new report from FreeWheel, an online ad technology firm.

The company’s video monetization report also found that people viewing TV online are watching more commercials.

Among the findings: Ad views in long-form content were up 86 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago. And completion rates for 30-second spots and 15-second spots are above 90 percent

Analysts say both figures suggest that the old notion that online users won't tolerate commercials was false, and that the traditional TV business model holds up on digital devices even as the number of commercials per break rises. There were 3.2 ads per break in the fourth quarter compared to 2.8 ads a year ago.

Other findings:

  • There was a 148-percent increase in ad views in live content
  • About 80 percent of that live content was sporting events that can almost only be viewed by subscribing to a pay-TV provider and authenticating online via a TV Everywhere program
  • Record numbers of viewers live-streamed major sporting events in 2013 “supporting the notion that live event coverage is the strongest possible safeguard against cord cutting”
  • While industry executives complain about the slow pace of implementing TV Everywhere, ad views in authenticated content were up 268 percent as more programmers put content behind an authentication wall
  • The genres showing the biggest growth in ad views were documentary/reality programming at 66 percent, scripted drama at 64 percent and sports at 50 percent.
  • Viewing on mobile phones and tablets is increasing its share of digital viewing versus desktop personal computers – for long-form content, 20 percent of viewing is now done on tablets while 14 percent is on mobile phones
  • Unlike other forms of digital content, the vast majority of ad sales were done directly by the publishers of the content rather than ad networks or exchanges, which had only a 4.5-percent share

"When you watch long-form programming and you watch it on your tablet or you watch it on your mobile phone, there are going to be commercials, and people accept it," says Doug Knopper, cofounder of FreeWheel. "And we've seen that now quarter after quarter, year after year, that completion rates are high. That's obviously a good thing for the industry and consumers are accepting it, so more content is going out there, more devices are being watched in more places and being watched by more people. It's a nice virtuous circle that everybody benefits from."

Knopper added that TV Everywhere is being “adopted and taking off and at probably a faster rate than most of the industry perceives.”

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