Cable Cutters Watch 98% of Streaming Video Ads

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A new study of multiscreen video audiences has found that new models of streaming advertising are reaching audiences far better than traditional linear television advertising ever could. The study was conducted by FreeWheel, a Comcast-owned “complete advertising management solution” which provides video ad services for clients like AOL, DIRECTV, Fox, NBC Universal, Turner, and Viacom. FreeWheel found that over-the-top (OTT) devices, which include dedicated streaming devices like Roku players and Amazon Fire TV, are currently the best vehicle for streaming video ads. According to the study, 98% of ads on OTT streaming video devices are watched to completion, compared to just 91% on tablets, 86% on smartphones, and 84% on desktop computers.

Aside from the advertising data, the study also found wide gaps in terms of the demographics of streaming television audiences and traditional linear TV audiences. According to the group’s data, the median streaming television viewer is 23 years younger than the average traditional broadcast TV viewer, and that households with streaming video bring in $10,000 more per year on average than traditional TV households.

The study also found that OTT viewers tend to view content for much longer than they do on other devices; 36% of OTT streaming audiences watch for an hour or more each time they use a streaming service, as opposed to 25% watching for ten minutes or less. Of that time, nearly 60% is spent actually streaming video content, while the rest is presumably spent aimlessly browsing streaming libraries with crippling indecision. The longer length of OTT viewing is likely due to the fact that OTT devices pair with televisions which are most often positioned in front of comfortable furniture as opposed to say, in one’s hand on the toilet as in the case of mobile devices.

While none of us likes to sit through ads before or during our favorite programs, the fact that streaming audiences are completing ads is good news; advertising ultimately drives the television industry, and if streaming turns out to be the best vehicle for ads, it will only mean bigger budgets for streaming services and series.

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Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley lives in beautiful western North Carolina. Aside from streaming television news, Brett covers all things strange, extraordinary, weird, and wonderful at When he's not glued to the keyboard, Brett can be found hiking throughout the Pisgah National Forest. Email him at or on Twitter at @brettbtingley.
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