Posted December 1, 2011 3:58 pm by with 0 comments

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Everyone expects to see commercial breaks when they sit down to watch TV, but commercial breaks on online videos. . . that’s another thing.

When sites like YouTube began offering up short-form entertainment, people weren’t willing to watch a commercial, before, during or after. So they slapped an Adsense banner ad across the bottom of the vid and called it the cost of doing business.

But online video has experienced explosive growth in the past year and video ads have grown right along with it. Look at these numbers from FreeWheel:

For the first time, video ad viewing growth is greater than video viewing growth. FreeWheel says that the growth is partly due to an increase in long-form video. It’s no longer about making a statement in under 3 minutes. Now, networks are running full episodes of current TV shows online. You can watch sporting events, concerts, educational videos and movies. Our tolerance for online video length has increased and with it, our tolerance for online video ads.

The average number of ads per long-form video rose from 3.1 in Q1 2011, to 5.02 in Q3. That’s a big jump, over a very short period of time. You might think that so many ads would scare off viewers, but it’s not true. Completion rates have stayed steady through the year. Long-form had the best completion rate with 82%. Mid-form had 70% and short-form came in at 56%.

What’s starting to happen, is long-form video is taking the place of traditional primetime TV viewing with numbers peaking between 9 pm and 11 pm. Short-form videos are more popular in the late afternoon, mostly between 1 pm and 4 pm. Sounds like post-lunch boredom, to me.

Now check out how mobile devices play into all of this:

The iPad really comes into play in the evening and you can bet they’re using it to watch TV shows and movies. Most of the major networks have apps that stream their shows and cable apps allow you to tap into anything you’d be watching on your TV – only now you can take it with you where ever you go.

Mobile devices have made it even easier to watch videos any time of the day or night, at home, work or at McDonalds. More video, means more places to put ads, more chances to reach a potential customer.  And right now, video advertising is a bargain compared to 15 seconds on a primetime TV show.