New Video Marketplace Report from FreeWheel Shows Ad Views in 1H2020 Grew Over 32% Compared to the Same Time Last Year

73% of ad views during the first half of the year were on the big screen, as viewers were less mobile due to the COVID-19 pandemic

NEW YORK — Today, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company (Nasdaq: CMCSA), released the latest edition of its U.S. Video Marketplace Report, an industry benchmark report that explores viewership trends across the industry. The latest report delves into the first half of 2020, an incredibly unique six-month period for media consumption, given the changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

“In the first half of 2020, we observed that the lockdown restrictions related to COVID-19 proved to be an accelerant for changes among both audiences and advertisers”

The report found that video viewing soared as consumers were forced to hunker down at home. In fact, premium video ad views the first half of 2020 grew over 32% compared to the same time last year, driven by a 17% year-over-year increase in video views.

The first half of 2020 also revealed that, when at home, Americans preferred the best viewing experience possible: “the big screen.” As people were stuck inside during this unique period, they turned to their television sets for entertainment and information rather than their mobile devices. In the U.S., ad views on set-top box (STB) and connected TV (CTV) comprised 73% of total views during the six-month period. In fact, when compared to 2019, ad views on CTV increased by 42%.

“In the first half of 2020, we observed that the lockdown restrictions related to COVID-19 proved to be an accelerant for changes among both audiences and advertisers,” said David Dworin, Head of Advisory Services, FreeWheel. “Viewers are turning to premium video more than ever, and, when given the choice, they are choosing to watch it in a lean-back, engaged way on their television sets. Despite a challenging year for the media industry, the power and popularity of premium TV is as clear as ever, and we expect this trend to continue even after the pandemic is behind us.”

During this period, live viewing also showed no sign of slowing down. The report revealed that live viewing grew +38% despite an absence of sports, a phenomenon fueled particularly by interest in news and the growth of free virtual channels. This finding again proved that people still like the linear-like viewing experience – even on digital platforms.

The data set used for FreeWheel’s Video Marketplace Report is one of the largest available on the usage and monetization of professional, rights-managed video content worldwide. The figures are based on aggregated and anonymized advertising data collected through the FreeWheel platform.

To read the full report, click here.

About FreeWheel
FreeWheel, A Comcast Company, empowers all segments of The New TV Ecosystem. We are structured to provide the full breadth of solutions the advertising industry needs to achieve their goals. We provide the technology, data enablement, and convergent marketplaces required to ensure buyers and sellers can transact across all screens, across all data types, and all sales channels, in order to ensure the ultimate goal – results for marketers.

With offices in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, London, Paris, Beijing, and across the globe, FreeWheel, A Comcast Company, 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.