FreeWheel releases 10th anniversary U.S. Video Marketplace Report

Monday, March 29th, 2021
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FreeWheel Finds That in a Decade of Change, Viewing Has Come Back to the Living Room

  • FreeWheel’s 10th anniversary U.S. Video Marketplace Report reveals massive increase in non-desktop ad views, led by connected TV
  • Report also finds that in H2 2020, overall ad views increased by 57% compared to the prior year

NEW YORK — Today, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company, released the 10th anniversary edition of its U.S. Video Marketplace Report, an industry benchmark research initiative that explores industry viewership trends. The analysis showed that as people’s consumption of media has fragmented across devices over the past 10 years, many have returned to the living room to watch connected TV.

This special edition of the U.S. Video Marketplace Report features a timeline of events that have shaped TV’s last decade of growth, drawing on data and observations from past issues to highlight the transformative moments of the last 10 years and contrasting the history with data from the second half of 2020.

“We’ve observed enormous changes in the TV industry over the past decade, making it critical that marketers stay on top of trends in distribution, monetization, audience behavior and ad experience,” said Dave Clark, General Manager, FreeWheel. “For the past 10 years, the Video Marketplace Report has become a trusted source for data, context and commentary into these changes. In observing this time frame, the big story has been fragmentation, but ironically, fragmentation of video viewing has brought viewers back to their living rooms as connected TV continues to lead the pack.”

The report reveals just how much consumers have embraced their connected devices to view premium content and how the device of choice has evolved over time as distribution has changed. According to the analysis, in Q4 2012, 12% of video views were on devices other than laptops. In comparison, in 2H 2020, non-desktop devices made up 84% of ad views – a 7x increase in share. Connected TV (CTV) has played prominently into this shift, as consumers have moved back to the living room to consume TV. CTV now makes up 62% of all measured ad views, with Roku and Fire TV contributing 72% of ad views (43% and 29% respectively).

Looking back 10 years to the growth in adoption of TV Everywhere in 2011, the report shows how content – and, therefore ad views – have spread across devices: In H2 2020, TV Everywhere (TVE) made up 40% of ad views, while streaming was not far behind at 38% of ad views measured. Meanwhile, ad views continue to soar: The report found that in H2 2020, overall ad views increased by 57% when compared to H2 2019.

The report looked at the journey of programmatic advertising, as marketers have sought to streamline their tech stacks and find greater efficiencies in media buying. In 2015, programmatic was just starting to gain traction in the video space. Today, that amount of programmatic transactions has exploded, accounting for 24% of premium video ad views in H2 2020. The use of audience targeting has also accelerated, comprising 91% of ad views, split evenly between demo and behavioral segments.

The Video Marketplace Report concludes with a look ahead to the next 10 years, predicting the continued growth of smart TVs, the acceleration and scaling of direct-to-consumer streaming services, the growth of live streaming and the path towards a programmatic future.