On September 20, we launched the FreeWheel VMR: Q2 2018, “Premium Video: Delivering Value Across the Marketing Funnel.” Once again we reveal the evolving trends impacting the New TV Ecosystem based on our census-level advertising data collected through the FreeWheel Platform.
In Q2, premium video gained momentum as a marketing platform in both the U.S. and Europe as the TV industry continues to embrace technology and articulate its proposition across the full marketing funnel. During the 2018 U.S. Upfront buying season, CPMs increased across networks, with most reporting high single- or double-digit growth year-over-year. This demonstrates that advertisers see TV as a critical platform for their marketing success.
TV executives were keen to highlight the benefits of their offerings to set themselves apart from prominent digital competitors who seek to capture TV’s share of marketing spend. As Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising Sales and Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal, stated, “We’re not in the likes business. We’re in the results business. Real, verified results delivered the right way.” That message resonated with marketers, who bought into premium video’s power to reach engaged audiences at scale, driving growth of over 30% year-over-year.
Premium video is uniquely positioned to deliver top-of-the-funnel brand benefits due to its scale and brand-safe environment, and also increasingly delivers value further down the marketing funnel via sophisticated targeting and attribution capabilities. Many premium TV publishers have invested heavily in their advanced audience buying shops, from NBCUniversal’s Audience Studio to Viacom Vantage, enabling marketers to deliver bespoke messages to specific audience segments across premium video content.
At the same time, buyers continue to look for tools that can simplify buying through greater automation and efficiency. Programmatic transactions are growing in importance as a monetization channel for premium publishers, but must work in tandem with direct-sold deals to maximize yield and meet buyer demands while ensuring competitive separation and brand safety concerns are met.
These three factors—scale of the inventory, sophistication of advertising solutions, and simplicity of execution—are what make premium video such an attractive advertising platform for marketers. In this report, we explore the ways that premium video delivers on these important objectives and reveal the key trends behind the evolution of the television ecosystem.