NewFronts: Original Internet Video Getting Big, But Still Not TV Big

IAB research finds 45 million U.S. viewers watch professionally produced video content monthly


Online video still doesn’t match the breadth and power of television, but it’s picking up steam — with professionally produced Internet video reaching an estimated 45 million U.S. viewers each month, according to research from trade group Interactive Advertising Bureau.

That represents only 19% of all American adults, whereas according to Nielsen more than 95% of the population watches TV.

IAB report, released at the start of the weeklong Digital Content NewFronts in New York, distinguished viewing habits of original professional online video (which it dubs “OPOV”) from user-generated content and TV shows available via the Internet. It’s aimed at bolstering the rationale for the NewFronts, which mimic the TV upfronts: to persuade ad buyers to funnel their money into online video.

So-called OPOV is on the same plane as regular TV when it comes to ad receptiveness — about the same percentage of online viewers (65%) as HDTV viewers (63%) say ads “take away from my enjoyment” of the content, according to the survey.  But OPOV advertising trails TV on relevance, with just 22% of online video viewers saying ads are relevant vs. 45% of HDTV viewers.

Those surveyed who view both primetime TV and OPOV cited viewing new, unique content and flexible screening times as preferable aspects of OPOV over primetime television viewing.

“The wealth of original professional digital programming being presented at the Digital Content NewFronts is evidence of the public’s hunger for new, compelling content available online,” IAB topper Randall Rothenberg said. “It is a watershed moment.”

Trade group called out study’s finding that adults 18-34 overindex on online professional video content (with 31% of that cohort viewing it monthly) as do men (24%).

IAB commissioned the study from research firm GfK. Out of 2,425 people (18 and older) sampled from the general U.S. population, 1,005 were viewers of some form of Internet video content. Study was conducted March 19-24 via a 23-minute online survey.

Other findings from the study: Laptops are most popular device for online professional video (used by 50% of monthly viewers) followed by: desktop computers (39%); Internet-connected TVs (27%); smartphones (26%); and tablets (23%). Majority (89%) of OPOV viewing happens at home, in line with user-generated content (88%) and traditional TV programming online (93%).

Social media usage is higher for original pro video and UGC than TV online, according to the survey. About 41% of OPOV and 56% of UGC viewers use social more within their online video experiences compared with 35% of those watching TV programming online.

Gotham-based IAB has more than 500 media and technology company members, which the organization claims are responsible for selling 86% of all online advertising in the U.S. Those include Amazon, AOL, CBS Interactive, Discovery Communications, Disney Interactive Media, Facebook, Google, Hulu, Microsoft, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Television, Turner Broadcasting System, Warner Bros. and Yahoo.