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FreeWheel Sees Strong Convergence in CTV Viewing and Ad-Buying

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Viewers took a unified approach to television in 2018, moving fluidly between linear, pay TV, and streaming sources on their home televisions, and advertisers were quick to follow. Video monetization company FreeWheel released its 2018 Q4 Video Marketplace Report (formerly the Video Monetization Report) today, and the key word is convergence. The industry saw strong convergence trends in 2018, and that trend will continue in the coming years.

News 2Primetime hours saw a surge in streaming TV viewing in Q4, with 23% of CTV and set-top box (STB) ad views happening between 8PM and 11PM. The report also found mobile devices saw strong viewing during morning hours and primetime.

In Q4, CTV took 42% of all streamed video ad views, a 45% year-over-year increase, while STB devices took 16% (down 4% year-over-year). Together, that shows 59% of streaming video ad views go to the TV. Connected TVs are used to watch full episodes of programs 59% of the time, while STBs are used for full episodes 100% of the time.

Just as viewing is converging, advertisers are increasingly unifying how they purchase their video ads. The report sees nearly all buyers moving away from siloed purchasing of TV and digital through different channels. 52% of advertisers and agencies already merge linear TV and digital video ad buys. However, that figure will be 91% by the end of 2021. Why is the convergence taking so long?

“More than 90% of advertisers express a desire to plan and buy traditional TV and premium digital video together, but they have to overcome significant institutional inertia in their organizations and rethink legacy systems and processes in order to do so," explains David Dworin, vice president of advisory services at FreeWheel. "For instance, they may have teams, processes, and systems that all speak different languages, thinking in terms of either commercial time and ratings points or digital impressions, and they need to build the translation layers to bring them together while continuing to manage their existing business.”

For more on streaming viewing and advertising trends, download the full report for free (registration required).

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