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Zenith: Online video viewing to exceed an hour a day in 2018

Online video is the world’s fastest-growing advertising format and is responsible for most of the growth in media consumption worldwide. Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting and director of global intelligence at Zenith gives his take on their latest forecast.  


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We’ve just published the fourth edition of our Online Video Forecasts, and we’ve upgraded our forecasts after actual use exceeded our expectations once again.

We now expect global consumers to spend an average of 67 minutes a day watching online video this year, up from 56 minutes last year, and by 2020 we expect the average person to spend 84 minutes a day watching videos online. By online video we mean all video content viewed over an internet connection, including broadcaster-owned platforms, ‘over-the-top’ subscription services, video-sharing sites and videos viewed on social media. 

Global online video consumption grew by 11 minutes a day in 2017, and we expect it to grow by an average of 9 minutes a day each year to 2020. It accounts for almost all the growth in total internet use, and is growing faster than media consumption overall, so it is taking consumption time from traditional media. 

We estimate that online video adspend grew 20 per cent in 2017, to reach US$27bn. Growth peaked at 36 per cent in 2014 and has fallen steadily since then, but still remains very high. We forecast 19 per cent growth in 2018, and an average of 17 per cent annual growth to 2020, when online video adspend will reach US$43bn. Video’s share of online display advertising is rising steadily: it accounted for 27 per cent of display adspend in 2017, and we expect it to account for 30 per cent in 2020. 

Online video advertising is still only a fraction of the size of television advertising, but because television is stuck at cero per cent to two per cent annual growth, this fraction is rising rapidly. The online video ad market was 10 per cent of the size of the television ad market in 2015, and 14 per cent in 2017. By 2020 we expect online video adspend to be 23 per cent of the size of television adspend.


Zenith video forecast 2018 ()

Source: Zenith


Online video advertising began by emulating television advertising, with most ads appearing within other video content that the viewers were really interested in as interruptive ‘in-stream’ ads. But over the past few years ‘out-stream’ ads have become common. These are stand-alone video ads that appear within text or images, or within a social news feed. Thanks mainly to the rapid adoption of video content and advertising by social media platforms, out-stream video is rapidly becoming the dominant form of online video advertising. In the UK, for example, it overtook in-stream advertising to account for 56% of online video adspend in 2017. This is changing the structure of online video creative. Because a viewer can simply scroll past them, out-stream ads need to grab the viewer’s attention from the very first second, either with an arresting image or with a celebrity with a dedicated following. They do not have the narrative leeway available to interruptive ads.

Google and Facebook have played a big role in the rise of online video, but it provides a valuable opportunity for publishers of all kinds to reach consumers in a new way, one that advertisers value and to which they are rapidly committing new budgets.

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