Press Release

FreeWheel Research Finds Line Between Linear TV and Premium Digital Video Is Increasingly Disappearing

March 27, 2019

In 2018, ad views delivered via connected TVs grew 53% and live content ad views rose 86%, demonstrating this convergence trend, report finds.

FreeWheel’s VMR, formerly known as the Video Monetization Report, now named the Video Marketplace Report to reflect the publication’s heightened focus on consumer and buy-side trends.

NEW YORK – FreeWheel, A Comcast Company, today announces the launch of its fourth quarter VMR. Formerly known as the Video Monetization Report (VMR), this signature research report that is published four times a year will now be known as the Video Marketplace Report beginning with this installment.

The new name underscores a key theme and finding in this quarter’s report: Premium video is evolving and the industry, likewise, is also changing. As such, the report’s new name reflects FreeWheel’s research teams’ commitment and heightened focus on consumer and buy-side trends, as well as the increasing convergence between linear TV and premium digital video. 2018 marked a big year in the coming together of these two worlds, as evidenced by viewership trends, which looked more similar than ever before, and significant industry moves to unify advertising across both sectors.

In 2018, two consumer viewership trends underscored and accelerated this convergence: 40% of all ad views were delivered on a connected TV, which indicates that people are “using this device to watch whatever they want in the comfort of their living rooms,” said David Dworin, who heads FreeWheel’s Advisory Services Team and was one of the report’s lead authors. Live viewing, likewise, grew 86%, as “viewers watched video content in real-time, wherever they wanted and on whatever device they wanted.”

“Watching TV can now mean tuning into a program on linear TV, streaming a favorite series on a connected TV, or following a live event on a smartphone. It’s the content, not the pipes, that viewers see,” he concluded.

Premium video also saw strong overall growth (27%) for full year 2018, continuing a multi-year trend of high growth. The key takeaways from this quarter’s VMR, titled “Growth & Convergence: The Evolution of Premium Video in 2018,” can be found below:

The View From The Buy-Side: Unified Buying is an Imperative*

  • 52% of advertisers and agencies are already combining the buying of digital video and linear TV today and 91% say they will by 2021.
  • 74% of advertisers say it is important or very important to have integrated digital video and linear TV data/technology solutions.

*Note: The data above is based on a FreeWheel / Advertiser Perceptions Thought Leadership Survey of over 200 advertisers and agencies.

FreeWheel Video Marketplace 2018 Convergence Trends

  • Advertisers shared live moments with audiences using premium video. (2018 was the year of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, among other major live, televised events.) As such, live content ad views grew 86% in 2018.
  • Premium video is both primetime and anytime.
    • While 23% of viewing occurs in the key 8 to 11 p.m. daypart, over 75% of viewing occurs outside of the traditional TV “primetime.”
    • 18% of desktop ad views come between 12 and 3 p.m. and the ease of click-through makes this an interesting platform for marketers looking to drive direct response outcomes.
  • Connected TVs offer a lean-back viewing experience.
    • Connected TV ad views grew 53% in 2018, which represented 40% of all ad views.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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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.

Media Contact:
Elaine Wong, 929-388-9098