52 Million People Watch Original Digital Content, Says IAB Study

/ May 7, 2014

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A new study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau claims that the monthly viewership for “original digital programming” is now at 52 million. That’s a 15% increase from the 45 million a similar study from the IAB reported in 2013.

Conducted by research firm GfK, the study found that audiences find made-for-digital content to be more innovative, edgy, unique, and maybe most importantly, mobile. Forty-one percent of respondents cited flexibility as the top reason for watching online video content. Reflecting that, 46% of respondents now watch said content on smartphones, and 41% do so on tablets. That’s double the levels of a year ago, the study says.

What’s more, more than half of “monthly original digital video users” report that their viewing of such content is unplanned (which has a certain obvious kind of sense to it). Only a quarter of those who watch TV online, as well as regular primetime TV viewers, report the same.

Some people would argue that it’s because online viewing is largely unplanned that it’s harder for the industry to attract advertising dollars; advertisers want to know when people are watching as much as who and what. That said, the IAB notes that even across TV dayparts and categories, there’s been a decline in planned viewing.

The TV screen isn’t being completely ignored, though. As the study finds that 48% of respondents use web-connected TVs to watch original digital video content.

Social is also big for original digital video viewers: 52% “conduct more social media activities” after watching such content, compared to only 38% of primetime TV viewers.

So has original digital video finally arrived? Honestly, that’s a stupid question. People are obviously watching made-for-web content. What would be interesting to see is how the study defined “original digital video.” A lot of user-generated clips on YouTube are technically made for the web. Does that count?

GfK says it screened more than 2,300 people above the age of 18 for their viewing of online video, and conducted full interviews with 1,011 people who watched online video at least once a month.

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