Premium Video in Europe Continues to Evolve on the Big Screen, Reveals Latest FreeWheel Video Monetisation Report

Live sporting events and streaming services help drive growth, while the TV set remains platform of choice

London, UK: FreeWheel, a Comcast company and the industry’s most complete advertising management solution, has announced the launch of its Q1 2018 Video Monetisation Report (VMR), which shows the continued evolution of premium video advertising in Europe, driven by the growing popularity of live sports content and streaming services.

Ad views in the region increased 37% in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2017 – more than in the US (34%) – while the number of video views rose 10%.

Data from the VMR indicates four key trends across Europe during the first quarter of this year:

  • Live ad views in Europe – fuelled by major sporting events such as the Winter Olympics – saw growth of 67% year-on-year, compared to 77% in the US. Premium publishers in Europe sought to deliver on their promise of the first truly digital Games, with Discovery and Eurosport achieving 4.5 billion video views,
1.7 billion hours of video, and 386 million viewers.
  • In spite of competition from other platforms, the big screen experience remains a priority for viewers in both Europe and the USA. Combined, OTT and STB VOD garnered the highest share of ad views, at 39%. While mobile ad views have risen 19% year-on-year, and desktop also continues to be a key player with a growth rate of 16%, these figures reflect slower growth; and views of premium video on tablet have decreased 2% year-on-year.
  • Viewers are watching over more formats and devices than ever – but across the board, ad completion rates remain high. For full episodes, pre- and mid-roll ad completion is at 97% and 96% respectively – indicating strong levels of engagement, and recognition from viewers that advertising and premium content go hand-in-hand.
  • The number of consumers switching on to streaming services has increased significantly – with 51 million subscribers across Europe – and broadcasters are continuing to collaborate in order to compete with giants such as Amazon and Netflix. Partnerships between RTVE, Mediaset and Atresmedia, as well as France Broadcasters, TF1 and M6, have already been announced in strategic moves to shake up the OTT and SVOD markets.

Additional findings from the Q1 report included:

  • While concerns around transparency have led to direct deals accounting for 84% of premium advertising, programmatic is still experiencing considerable growth in the region. European advertisers have fuelled a rise of 48% year-on-year in this area, and 16% of ad views stem from programmatic transactions.
  • Striking the right balance between experience and monetisation, the number of ads per break in long-form on-demand content has decreased. European viewers see 4.6 ads in comparison to the 4.8 in Q1 2017, totalling around 80 seconds – a reduction of 14 seconds.
  • Syndication continues to grow in the region, as publishers aim to increase reach and monetisation whilst retaining primary sales rights. An increase of 73% year-on-year, 24% of all ad views are syndicated; while aggregator sites are also experiencing significant growth, at 47% YOY.

The latest figures are a positive sign for the industry during a challenging quarter that has seen the implementation of the GDPR and concerns from brands around transparency and control.

Thomas Bremond, General Manager, International, Comcast, commented: “In the midst of a fast-changing industry, 2017 was a successful year for premium video advertising – and 2018 has also demonstrated a strong start. While the full implications of GDPR within Europe on publishers and advertisers are still to be seen, the positive steps being taken towards greater transparency and optimising the viewer experience will hopefully ensure that the effects are minimal, and the relationship between brand and consumer will continue to flourish.”

The FreeWheel Video Monetisation Report is released quarterly and highlights the changing dynamics of how enterprise-class content owners and distributors are monetising premium digital video content. The data set used for this report is one of the largest available on the usage and monetisation of professional, rights-managed video content worldwide, and is based on census-level advertising data collected through the FreeWheel platform.

The full report can be downloaded here:

About FreeWheel:
FreeWheel, a Comcast Advanced Advertising Company, is the industry’s most complete advertising management solution. Purpose built for the New TV ecosystem, we enable our collective client base across all key industry segments to manage and monetise their premium video inventory in the brand safe ways they require. Our leading technology, unmatched service and guidance, and collaborative advocacy power the advertising businesses of the largest media and entertainment companies in the world, including AOL, DIRECTV, Fox, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting System, and Viacom in the U.S., and MTG, Sky, Canal + and Channel 4 in Europe. Our offerings work in synchronised tandem to meet every aspect of our clients’ business needs across all screens, data sets, and monetisation channels, while providing the full safety, compliance, and control the New TV ecosystem demands. With offices in New York, San Francisco, London, Paris, Beijing, and across the globe, FreeWheel stands to advocate for the entire industry through the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video. For more information please visit, and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.