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Study: Online Video Coveted Over Primetime TV, Especially Among Younger Viewers

11 May, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

As expected, original online video content resonates more highly than primetime television among Madison Ave.’s coveted 18-34 demo, who are twice as likely as adults 35+ to watch made-for-digital content (including ads), according to new data from the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

In a slightly self-serving study of 1,900 respondents conducted online in March by research firm GfK for IAB, regular viewers of original digital video content were found to have grown to 63 million in 2016 from 45 million in 2013. This group has money, with household income up 9% year-over-year to more than $76,000. By comparison, online video streaming (Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, etc.) household income is about the same at $76,900. Among cord-cutters and cord-nevers, household income drops to $59,600.

Cord-cutters and cord-nevers are more likely than pay-TV subscribers to stream video, including original digital video and TV programming. Because of this demo, media properties such as HBO, Showtime, Dish Network, Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, among others, have rolled out over-the-top video properties.

Indeed, more than half of cord-cutters and cord-never respondents said original digital video was an important reason for canceling or not having pay-TV. However, the study focused on digital video distribution with advertising, which included Hulu but excluded streaming behemoths Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Ad-supported original video includes content such as Crackle’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” by Jerry Seinfeld, YouTube’s “PewDiePie,” and “Funny Or Die,” among others.

Half of male respondents said they remembered ads in original digital video more than they did a year ago (31%). The same held true for a greater percentage of the overall original digital video audience a year ago (38% vs. 29%).

Among cord-cutters and cord-nevers, a larger number of respondents (48%) said they were more likely to remember ads shown alongside original digital video content than a year ago (27%). Moreover, among the 18-34 demo, ads shown during this type of programming were found to be “more interesting” or “fun” (49%). The percentage of respondents appreciating ad-supported video declined to 36% among all respondents..

The top reasons cited for watching made-for-digital video programming were viewing flexibility and original content. In addition, respondents associated the format being “innovative,” “younger,” “for anywhere,” “unique” and “new.”

“Considering these research findings, there is ample reason for advertisers to want to take advantage of original digital video,” Anna Bager, SVP and GM of mobile and video at IAB, said in a statement. “This growing format not only attracts a valuable young demographic, but also appeals to the notoriously hard-to-reach audience of cord-cutters and cord-nevers.”

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