Milestones in VMR History
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Terra Mrkulic
By Terra Mrkulic,
Social Media & Content Marketing Director

As we approach the launch of our 22nd edition of the FreeWheel Video Monetization Report (VMR), we take a look into the archives to examine the many ways the report has evolved over the past six years.


2010 VMR

Humble beginnings: the VMR began as a simple 4-page analysis of our full-year 2010 data detailing the rise of long-form content; the increasing volume and CPMs for pre-roll ads; the emergence of the popularity of the :15s ad; and the impact of content length on ad completion rates.


Given the popularity of 2010’s introductory report, our team started publishing a quarterly version in early 2011. That same year, Apple sold nearly 150 million iPhone, iPods and iPads—giving more consumers the ability to watch premium video whenever they want, however they want, right in the palm of their hands. It’s no surprise we first reported on what we then called, “wireless video viewing” in Q1 when Mobile accounted for less than 1% of online video views. Fast forward to our Q1 2016 report, it’s exciting to see Mobile ad views now comprising an impressive 27% of device share, despite an increasingly fragmented marketplace.


Ad views in 2012 spiked an impressive +47% growth YOY, fueled by a robust holiday season and increased ad loads. Worthy to note: in Q4 2012 long-form content saw an average of 9.4 ads per video—up from 6.9 ads the previous year. Despite the increase in ad loads, however, ad completion rates actually improved, with Q4 2012 rates coming in at 93%– 5 points more than Q4 2011.  Consumers were coming to accept the trade-off between “free” access to premium content and the presence of advertising.


2013 VMR

In 2013, our Advisory Services team took a new in-depth approach, providing double the data and analysis which now comprise the portion of the report we call our Core Observations. This expanded edition included the fragmentation of the viewing landscape; the escalation of reseller opportunities; and the impact of viewer authentication. Such a comprehensive analysis warranted the first print version of the VMR for our clients and partners.

This year, live content took center stage, with +148% YOY increase in ad views in Q4, driven by record numbers of viewers tuning in to stream major sporting events.


VMR goes global! In Q1 2014 we reported on the success of Publishers in the United Kingdom. Looking back, it’s interesting to note the success of non-Desktop viewing in the UK vs. the US— 41% of ad views took place on Mobile and OTT in the UK, compared to just 21% in the US. Our friends across the pond outpaced US consumers’ adoption of video viewing on-the-go, particularly on tablets.

2014 marked the debut of an interactive webinar with our analysts as a means of expanding the reach of the VMR and delivering insights beyond the book with new audiences around the world.


Attracting significant media attention, in 2015 we delivered metrics on the ad view share of set-top-box video on demand (STB VOD). Our Q3 data showed programmers enabled for video ad insertion on STB VOD outlets saw 18% of their volume come from that platform—making it second only to Desktop.

Desktop’s reign wouldn’t last for long, however, as the emergence of new devices with enormous growth chipped away at the overall share of Desktop, bringing it below to 50% for the first time. By Q4 2015, Desktop only accounted for 40% share of ad views.


2016 marks the year of re-imagination: the VMR Team has elevated their analyses to meet the ongoing needs of the premium video ecosystem and offer greater depth of insight by leveraging previously untapped data; while introducing branding, data visualization and packaging that captures an editorial feel – driven by the authors’ unifying theme. The Q1 report focused on the shared throne of premium video – and by understanding the relationship between content, experiences, and consumers one can unlock the ability to drive positive business outcomes. Taking that a step further, the upcoming Q2 report examines user experience in the context of audience.

We also had the good fortune to publish our first edition of the VMR in Chinese, empowering our many colleagues and partners in the FreeWheel Beijing office to easily engage with our market-facing insights.

2015 Q1 VMR - Chinese

The VMR: Q2 2016 launching on September 29 will achieve an even greater milestone as it will debut live on stage at Advertising Week. We invite you to reserve a copy of the report to be emailed to you on launch day and to access the live stream of the report presentation hosted by James Rooke, CRO, and Ying Wang, Director, Advisory Services starting at 9am.

Do you have thoughts or suggestions on how this report can continue its evolution? Contact our team with your feedback.


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