×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Digital Video Is Now More Popular Than Primetime TV Among Internet Viewers (Study)

People who watch professionally produced Internet video say they’re more likely to tune in to that type of content than any kind of TV programming — even surpassing primetime television for the first time.

That’s according to a study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the trade group that reps digital publishers and media companies. The survey was conducted by research firm GfK as an update to IAB’s annual original digital video study.

Original digital video overindexed at 140 (on a baseline of 100) among American adults who watch Internet video content at least monthly, when asked which kind of content they were “most likely” to watch — coming in ahead of primetime broadcast or cable at 135, according to the IAB’s 2016 Original Digital Video Study. Local and national TV news came in at 98, followed by live TV sports at 90 and daytime TV at 37. It’s worth noting that Internet video came out on top even though the IAB study excluded subscription-based video services like Netflix and Amazon that don’t carry advertising.

Of course, even if the latest BuzzFeed or YouTube viral video attracts more individual viewers than, say, the most recent HBO “Game of Thrones” episode, that doesn’t mean those views are in any way comparable in terms of dollar value.

Meanwhile, people still spend far more time watching traditional TV. In the fourth quarter of 2015, 95% of time spent viewing video was live or time-shifted TV, compared with 4% for Internet video watched on computers and 1% for video on smartphones, according to Nielsen. (And the IAB survey, to be clear, excluded consumers who do not watch Internet video at least monthly.)

But the research shows the audience for Internet video continues to swell. Overall, the number of Americans who watch professionally produced original digital video programming has grown to 63 million in the U.S. in 2016, up about 7% from 59 million a year ago (and a 40% increase from 45 million in 2013).

The study also revealed an increase in median household income among this audience, to $76,300, up 9% from a year ago. Median income among those who watch TV content online (such as on Hulu or ABC.com) was $76,900, whereas the figure for cord-cutters/cord-nevers was $59,600. In addition, the IAB research showed younger adults (18-34) are twice as likely as adults 35-plus to watch made-for-digital content.

The study defines “original digital video” as professionally produced video only for ad-supported online distribution and viewing (excluding TV programming distributed online). Examples include content from digital creators like PewDiePie, media companies like Conde Nast Entertainment and the Wall Street Journal, and online-video producers like Funny Or Die.

Not surprisingly, cord-cutters and cord-nevers — who don’t have cable or satellite TV — are more likely than pay-TV subscribers to stream video overall, per the IAB study. More than half of cord-cutters/nevers say original digital video was an important reason for not subscribing to pay TV.

Professionally produced digital video “not only attracts a valuable young demographic, but also appeals to the notoriously hard-to-reach audience of cord-cutters and cord-nevers,” said Anna Bager, IAB’s senior VP and G.M. of mobile and video. The group is releasing the study during the two-week Digital Content NewFronts, the series of presentations for ad and media execs in New York managed by the IAB.

In addition, the IAB study found that 38% of digital video viewers said they recall ads in original digital video, compared with 29% a year ago. Among cord-cutters/nevers aged 18-34 who watch online video, 48% said they’re likely to remember ads in Internet video compared with 27% a year ago.

The IAB’s 2016 Original Digital Video Study was fielded March 15–24, 2016, based on interviews with 852 adults (18 and older) who viewed online video at least once per month. The study also included a supplemental 150-person panel of original digital video viewers who are cord-cutters/cord-nevers.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • lenovo-mirage-camera_3

    Google’s VR180 Format Stalls After Camera Manufacturers Pull Back

    Google’s plan to establish a new immersive media format on YouTube and beyond has hit a roadblock: VR180, the stereoscopic video format that Google launched with big fanfare in 2017, has lost some of its key supporters, Variety has learned. Camera maker Yi has all but given up on launching its long-promised VR180 consumer camera, [...]

  • UMC-Marriage-Boot-Camp-Hip-Hop-Edition-WE-tv

    WE tv, UMC Reteam on Bonus Content for 'Marriage Boot Camp: Hip Hop Edition' Season 2

    AMC Networks is touting the benefits of cross-pollinating content and promos across its TV and streaming properties. In the latest bit of synergy, the programmer’s WE tv announced the continuation of its partnership with sister company UMC (Urban Movie Channel) to produce a second season of “confessional” episodes for WE tv reality series “Marriage Boot [...]

  • Google Play Pass

    Google Launches Play Pass, Its $4.99 Apple Arcade Competitor

    Google officially launched its Play Pass game and app subscription service Monday morning. Play Pass gives users access to more than 350 premium games and apps for $4.99 per month. The launch comes just a few days after Apple unveiled it own game subscription service Apple Arcade. Apps and games included in this subscription do [...]

  • ESPN - Always Late With Katie

    ESPN Inks Facebook Deal to Bring Exclusive Shows and Content to Watch Service

    Disney’s ESPN is looking to expand digital reach across Facebook, under a new deal to distribute exclusive digital shows and content on the social giant’s Facebook Watch video platform. At launch, ESPN’s Facebook Watch lineup includes additional segments from “Always Late With Katie Nolan,” the late-night sports/comedy show premiering this week on ESPN2; exclusive versions [...]

  • David Benioff, D. B. Weiss, Carolyn

    Emmys 2019: 'Game of Thrones,' Jharrel Jerome Lead Social-Media Buzz

    HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Jharrel Jerome, star of Netflix’s “When They See Us,” were among the leaders of social conversation during Sunday’s 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Facebook and Twitter. “GOT” picked up 12 Emmys in total for its final season, including outstanding drama series, while series star Peter Dinklage picked up his fourth [...]

  • Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Sets First Book-Club Pick for New Apple TV Plus Series

    Oprah Winfrey’s interviews with authors of her book club selections will be featured exclusively on Apple’s forthcoming Apple TV Plus service, and she’s announced the first book selection for the project: “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Apple teamed with Winfrey for Apple TV Plus series “Oprah’s Book Club,” premiering Nov. 1 when the service [...]

  • NBC LX - Valari Staab

    NBCU Launches Digital News Outlet LX to Reach People Who Don't Watch Local TV (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBCUniversal’s local TV division is taking a new tack to reach younger audiences that don’t tune in to its traditional newscasts. On Monday, NBCU’s 42-station local TV group is launching LX — a digital news brand that will produce original content for online distribution and, in 2020, via a live-streaming internet network and multicast over-the-air [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content