FreeWheel: number of ads per break and duration of breaks falling in Europe

The number of ads included in television ad breaks in Europe across platforms has fallen from an average of five to three since 2016, according to a report by ad-tech company FreeWheel, with the duration of ad breaks also falling slightly, particularly for mid-form ads.

However, mid-roll breaks on smart televisions have the longest duration – at 126 seconds – and the greatest number of ads with an average of between five to six ads per break.

European audiences view ads on a selection of screens and devices such as set-top-box VOD (30%), mobile (29%), CTV (26%), and desktop (15%), according to the report, The Delicate Art of Balancing  Ad Load.

Nearly eight in 10 ad views now occur on premium VOD, with 68% of VOD ad views taking place within long-form content, according to FreeWheel. The report also found that in ad views on live TV had increased to 20%, up from 10% in 2020.

According to FreeWheel, 78% of European audiences are watching significantly more video-on-demand (VOD) content than live content (22%).

Long- and mid-form content achieved an ad completion rate of 94%, while short-form content achieved a rate of 80%. A completion rate of 70% is considered good for online ads, indicating the superior performance of TV.

The report found that drop-offs usually happen during content rather than the ad break, with less than one-quarter of long-form and 30% of short-form premium video streams being interrupted in an ad break.

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