As consumers cut cords and stream more video, advertisers are tightening their purse strings at the TV upfronts.
But content owners shouldn’t fear too much. They aren’t losing their audiences, just watching them transition to IP-based connections.
In 2014, broadcasters experienced 67% growth in digital video ad views for shows in their first season, according to TV publisher ad server FreeWheel’s Video Monetization Report, released Tuesday.
Based on about 125 billion ad views in 2014, FreeWheel also found that 64% of viewing occurred more than a week after the original program air date.
“What this indicates to me is there’s more need to measure the value of a piece of content over a life cycle,” said Brian Dutt, director of advisory services for FreeWheel. “Measurement still remains a hot-button issue since there may be more longevity to these video assets [than is accounted for in standard C3 or C7 measurements]. These aren’t perishable assets, so [programmers want] compensation for every ad view.”
Additionally, programmers are just cracking the code on the right frequency and volume of ad placements in over-the-top and IP-streamed environments.
Despite the growth in live streaming both in sports and news programming (FreeWheel clocked 297% year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter for live streaming as a percentage of programmer ad views), the dynamic ad-serving experience lags because many programmers still plan for traditional breaks – 17 minutes of ads per hour.
“With digital, you’re doing dynamic ad serving and you have to enable the right mix of advertisers, and those advertisers need to submit the right creative on time,” Dutt explained. “There are a lot of dependencies that the market still needs to build for and with nearly 300% growth numbers in live viewing, it becomes very difficult to know where your audience will be from day to day.”
But this hasn’t stymied programmers from experimenting with tiered access to content in order to see what sticks. FreeWheel found 56% of all video ad views for long-form and live content happen behind authentication walls.
“What we’re seeing is a lot of people now leveraging their TV Everywhere credentials to engage with live sports, but they end up consuming other content like live news and on-demand, long-form TV shows,” Dutt said.
One way is freeing up “must-see” content by asking a viewer to enter their login credentials to view, for instance, a sports game through their TV Everywhere app that’s not available in their local TV market.