Online advertising views in Europe increased 37% in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2017 – more than the 34% growth recorded in the US – while the number of video views rose by 10%, according to Comcast-owned advertising technology outfit FreeWheel’s Q1 2018 Video Monetisation Report.
According to FreeWheel, data from the report indicates four key trends across Europe during the first quarter of this year.
First, live ad views in Europe, fuelled by major sporting events such as the Winter Olympics, saw growth of 67% year-on-year, compared to 77% in the US, with Discovery and Eurosport achieving 4.5 billion video views, 1.7 billion hours of video, and 386 million viewers.
Second, the big screen experience remains a priority for viewers in both Europe and the USA, according to FreeWheel. Combined, OTT and STB VOD garnered the highest share of ad views, at 39%. While mobile ad views have risen 19% year-on-year, and desktop also continues to be a key player with a growth rate of 16%, these figures reflect slower growth; and views of premium video on tablet have decreased 2% year-on-year.
Third, viewers are watching video over more formats and devices than ever, but across the board, ad completion rates remain high. For full episodes, pre- and mid-roll ad completion is at 97% and 96% respectively – indicating strong levels of engagement, and recognition from viewers that advertising and premium content go hand-in-hand, according to the technology outfit.
Finally, the number of consumers switching on to streaming services has increased significantly, with 51 million subscribers across Europe. Broadcasters are continuing to collaborate in order to compete with giants such as Amazon and Netflix. Partnerships between RTVE, Mediaset and Atresmedia, as well as collaboration between France Télévisions, TF1 and M6, are cited as examples.
FreeWheel also found that concerns around transparency have led to direct deals accounting for 84% of premium advertising, programmatic advertising is still experiencing growth in the region. European advertisers have fuelled a rise of 48% year-on-year in this area, and 16% of ad views stem from programmatic transactions.
The number of ads per break in long-form on-demand content has decreased. European viewers see 4.6 ads in comparison to the 4.8 in Q1 2017, totalling around 80 seconds – a reduction of 14 seconds.
FreeWheel also found that 24% of all ad views are now syndicated; while aggregator sites are also experiencing significant growth, at 47% year-on-year.
Thomas Bremond, general manager, international, Comcast, said: “In the midst of a fast-changing industry, 2017 was a successful year for premium video advertising – and 2018 has also demonstrated a strong start. While the full implications of GDPR within Europe on publishers and advertisers are still to be seen, the positive steps being taken towards greater transparency and optimising the viewer experience will hopefully ensure that the effects are minimal, and the relationship between brand and consumer will continue to flourish.”