If premium video providers need a promotional tagline to summarize their current world, it could well be “Coming to you live on your living room television.” That’s because two of the biggest takeaways from the FreeWheel Video Monetization Report (VMR): Q4 2016 are a big uptick in live and simulcast viewing and a migration of viewing from computers and devices to TV screens.
For premium video overall, it’s been six years of double-digit growth in both ad and video views, Mike Lawlor, FreeWheel’s SVP of Client Services, explains in this interview with Beet.TV. “Live video is really starting to take off in terms of ad views,” says Lawlor.
The FreeWheel VMR reveals a migration over the past few years from viewing happening predominantly on desktop and laptop computers—largely a function of distribution—to mobile devices and, finally, the living room. “Set-top VOD and OTT is our strongest growth story and something we’re really excited about. For the first year, it’s the biggest category,” he says, noting that 41% of ad views happened in the living room environment.
As viewership continues to congregate in living rooms, live and simulcasted events have been on the upswing, as has advertiser use of digital dynamic ad insertion. “It’s a natural evolution that we’re seeing more and more dynamic ad insertion activated on live environments and we expect that to continue.”
Asked about the impact of publicity surrounding a backlash by some advertisers to their ads appearing alongside objectionable content, Lawlor says that while it’s the story of the day, it’s nothing new to FreeWheel’s clients. “That’s because premium programmers have had their eye on the user experience for a very long time. This isn’t new to them. Premium programmers in this ecosystem have ensured that they’re developing and maintaining well-lit environments with content that is premium in nature and is safe for advertisers to have their messaging next to. ”
While there are frequent calls within advertising and media circles for a uniform way of targeting people across devices while measuring engagement and campaign ROI, FreeWheel doesn’t believe there will ever be a “single source of truth” as has long been the case with linear TV.
“Marketers intend for their campaigns to do different things on different screens,” he says, ranging from viewability and attribution to brand outcomes. “I think what’s most important is that we enable the ecosystem to target on and measure by whatever’s relevant to the buyers, and a lot of the work we’re doing at FreeWheel is to ensure that we have that capability.”
This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.