Another interesting piece of the Recent FreeWheel Video Monetization Report for Q1 2012 was the number of ads viewed in the quarter. Generally, after the major shopping season (read the holidays) winds down a lot of industries will move toward a slump of inactivity. But that wasn't quite the case with online video advertising.
The first quarter of the year is horribly slow in the video game industry as an example, to the point where some days the news takes all of 15 minutes. It's a common theme in the post-holiday quarter after the furious running about the country does toward Christmas.
Digital Video Ad Loads in Q1 2012 Match Q4 2011
However, even the historical first-quarter slump seems to have been erased this year according to FreeWheel and the report states that Q1 2012 video ads per video viewed over time were almost exactly the same as Q4 2011 and steady with Q4 2010. Now, the other quarters did show a ramping up trend with ad spending generally lowest in Q1 and steadily increasing until Q4, but this time, the cycle was broken.
According to the report this was due to advertisers still buying ad inventory in the digital video realm, an act which they extrapolated to mean an increased buy in for advertisers in online video advertising.
Why No Seasonal Dippity Do?
I've been pondering reasons why this might be happening. So I dug out the comScore Video Metrix numbers for the past few months. The numbers for November of 2011 are incomplete because comScore was using different metrics then, but you still get the basics of what happened through much of Q4 2011 and across Q1 2012.
As you can see from my chart below, the number of videos consumed went up and stayed steady through Q1 2012. Now remember, comScore says each segment of a piece of video content is counted as a video so long as three seconds are played. That means a single TV show with two ad breaks in it creates three 'videos' in their tally. The other trends are equally interesting though, the minutes per viewer went up from November to January and then remained fairly steady. There's actually a very slight drop in Jan-Mar but it's still far above 2011. The number of unique viewers peaked in January but even February's lower 179M is 8M more than December 2011 and 10M more than November.
So with that kind of online video audience, it makes sense that Q1 2012 did not see a dip in video advertising online. Clearly, the audience was there and was viewing a goodly amount of video content. So even though the retailer 'busy season' might have ended, there were still a lot of advertisers who saw value in continuing ad spend in Q1 because of these numbers or perhaps because of how they bought their ads.
Either way, it shows that the online video advertising industry might be breaking free of the more traditional seasonality of television and other industries. That also is logical to me, after all, video consumers want the content whenever and wherever, correct? That's the whole point of getting our video content online, we can get it on our own schedule.