Original Digital Video Overtakes TV in News, Sports & Daytime in Viewer Preference & Approaches Parity with Primetime TV, According to New IAB Study

One in Five Americans Watches ‘Made For Digital’ Content Each Month

U.S. Audience For Original Digital Video Programming Rises 15% Year-Over-Year to More Than 52 Million Per Month

NEW YORK – Americans are increasingly embracing original digital video, according to the “2014 Original Digital Video Study” from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which finds that viewers of original digital programming prefer that type of content to news, sports and daytime programming on television, and like it almost as much as they do primetime TV. The research, produced by GfK as an update to last year’s landmark original digital video study with IAB, also reveals that over one in five (22%) American adults watch original digital video each month, bringing the audience to 52 million per month. This represents a 15 percent increase from 45 million per month as reported in 2013.

“There are distinct differences between original video content on digital versus traditional television, and this research will help marketers and agencies better understand how to approach original digital programming ad opportunities to reap their many rewards.”

Released at the close of the 2014 Digital Content NewFronts, a series of action-packed presentations that shined a spotlight on opportunities for advertisers to tap into the excitement around original digital content, the research report clearly shows that this programming is perceived as more innovative, edgy, unique and mobile in comparison to regular TV. Moreover, compared with a year ago, these aspects are cited almost three times more often for what is liked better about original digital video over typical primetime TV by monthly viewers of both.

Flexibility of viewing is cited as the top driver for watching “made for digital” content (41%) and is considered a key reason for logging onto digital rather than tuning into traditional television shows. The ability to watch “anytime, anywhere” is also reflected by a sharp increase in the mobile viewing of original digital video. Smartphones (46%) and tablets (41%) are now being used to view this sort of programming at levels almost twice those of a year ago. In addition, nearly half (48%) use internet-connected TVs to watch original digital video, creating a similar viewing environment to TV, also nearly double the rate in 2013.

“Original digital programming has captured the attention of consumers across the country,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “Over the past few days, the thundering applause from ‘standing-room-only’ audiences of media buyers and marketers at each and every NewFronts presentation signaled the original digital video movement. This study underscores the importance of this innovative medium to advertisers who demand the kind of reach and engagement that ‘made for digital’ content delivers.”

The study also highlights how viewing habits for original digital video strongly differs from traditional television:

  • More than half of monthly original digital video users report their viewing of the medium is unplanned – compared with only about one quarter of those that watch TV online and regular primetime television viewers
  • Across television dayparts and categories, there has been a significant decline in planned viewing with patterns becoming more similar to how consumers approach original digital viewing
  • Social media sites are playing a larger role in the discovery of original digital programming
  • Original digital video viewers conduct more social media activities related to the shows they watch online (52%) than they do for primetime TV (38%)
  • In in-depth focus groups with viewers, participants said that original digital video is more typically consumed solo and in shorter durations

“This much consumer enthusiasm should translate into increased advertising dollars moving into original digital video,” said Sherrill Mane, Senior Vice President, Research, Analytics and Measurement, IAB. “There are distinct differences between original video content on digital versus traditional television, and this research will help marketers and agencies better understand how to approach original digital programming ad opportunities to reap their many rewards.”

To download the complete “2014 Original Digital Video Study,” please visit iab.net/originaldigitalvideo.


The 2014 Original Digital Video Study was fielded in March/April 2014. GfK screened over 2,300 persons age 18+ for viewing of online video; full interviews were completed with 1,011 persons 18+ who viewed online video at least once a month. GfK’s KnowledgePanelSM, recruited using high quality, traditional probability sample techniques was used for the survey to ensure that the results were as representative and projectable to the U.S. population as possible.

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 600 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit iab.net.