The Rise of Long Form Video Demands New Advertising Strategies [Report]

The Rise of Long Form Video Demands New Advertising Strategies [Report]

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In the Ooyala Q2 Global Video Index, we found out that Length, Size, Going to Completion Matter. Now, it’s time to take a look at Q3 and see how things are shaking out. As you can tell from the title, long form online video content is still on the rise on some platforms, but what’s it doing in general?

Personally, I like long form online video content because I cut the cord and do most of my entertainment video viewing online, that is, when I have time to do it at all. I’m not just talking about original web series like the one I’m working on, I’m also talking about TV and movies.

One of the things I like about Ooyala is that they clearly define everything in their reports, and they agree with me that long form content is 10 minutes or more. Especially now when a piece of online video content can easily range up to two hours in length, the previous 5-minute definition that others use seems archaic and uninformed. But I digress. This is about what that long form video is doing overall. However, before we can get to that, we have yet another reason why I like Ooyala, their clearly defined methodology.

Q3 Global Video Index – Methodology

The data sample used in this report covers the third quarter of 2012, from July 1 through September 30. All data was taken from an anonymous cross-section of Ooyala’s global customer and partner database—an array of broadcasters, studios, cable operators, print publications, online media companies and consumer brands. These firms broadcast video to over 130 different countries from more than 6,000 unique domains.

Nearly 200 million unique viewers watch an Ooyala-powered video every month. This data sample is not intended to represent the entire Internet, or all online video viewers.

Data Collection

When selecting items for inclusion in the report, Ooyala’s data science team selected metrics that were clear and meaningful. Granular measures were broken down along many categories, which resulted in a large amount of data. Rather than reporting all of this data, the Ooyala team chose to highlight those measures that give a good impression for the data set as a whole.

This report reflects the anonymized online video metrics of these publishers. It does not reflect the online video consumption patterns of the Internet as a whole. But the size of the Ooyala video footprint, along with the variety of our customers, means this report offers a statistically representative view of the overall state of online video.

Going, Going, LONG FORM!

Alright, let’s look at that data about the long form content. The reason I’m focusing on long form is because it presents more monetization options and revenue generation. With a piece of online video that’s 10 minutes long, I don’t feel that a mid-roll break of one minute is detrimental to the overall user experience. We’re already trained to accept multiple ad breaks in a TV show, so a single ad break should not be all that intrusive by comparison.

Long form is seeing some massive uptake on tablets, 54% more viewing of that content is being done on the tablets. Heck, even I do a lot of video viewing on my tablet where I normally wouldn’t like in bed, at the bar, in the laundromat, etc.

In fact, tablets are the fastest growing platform for long form online video content. Connected TV and game consoles are also seeing some growth, but they’re already at about critical mass with 94% of viewing time being long form.

Tablets though, have some pretty telling statistics, 71% of time spent was long form last quarter. But wait, because content that was an hour or more took a big bite of the time, 30% in fact. That’s second only to connected TV and game consoles which are closer to 40%. Desktops are doing about 20% and mobiles are, surprisingly, seeing maybe 10-15% of time spent viewing videos with content over an hour.

Tablets also had another 30% with content in the 30-60 minute range. That means the majority of video viewing on tablets is with 30-minute or longer content. Very little 10-30 minute content viewing with short form taking up almost 30% as well.

We Love you Long Time!

With all that long form content viewing that means lots of opportunities for advertising. Of course, the less you interrupt the viewing experience the happier the viewers will be so a careful balance is definitely going to be key to not stifling this kind of growth. It’s the thing I hate about TV, the massive ad loads. It’s also why I will watch something on Netflix or Hulu, no ads vs. stupid amounts of ads and I’m a Plus member! Nothing irritates video viewers more than paying for content only to have it interrupted by ads. Didn’t we already pay you to see the content? Why are you stopping us from doing that? You’re just driving me to Netflix and eventually I might just cancel my Hulu Plus altogether and get my TV viewing right from the sources or Netflix instead.

Long form content online is definitely a major driving force of monthly viewing numbers, it also tells me that the comScore video metrix numbers are wildly inaccurate. Since they state that each segement of content broken up by an ad pod is a ‘view’ in their reports. If we’re watching tons of videos longer than 10 minutes it means you can, at minimum, halve the numbers they are putting out and those 37 billion video ‘views’ is really 18.5 billion. But with 25% of all viewing being in the hour plus range it could vary wildly. If it’s all Netflix, then it would be closer to the original as they don’t break things with ad pods. If it’s a lot of content elsewhere it might be even lower than 18.5 billion if the content has two, three or even four breaks.

Regardless, what it all means is that there are some interesting options for generating revenue without completely interrupting the viewer experience. Perhaps instead of stopping the content altogether some innovative ad network might offer side-by-side viewing (see NASCAR on FOX for an example of that). Or perhaps a top-bottom type where the screen is reduced to 75% and the bottom 25% is advertising for a limited amount of time before going back to full screen.

With more and more long form content being viewed online advertising is going to need to adapt. It will need to move away from the traditional interruptive or risk becoming another dinosaur on its way to extinction.

You can view the complete Q3 Global Video Index Report from Ooyala here.


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