Study: Original Digital Video Overtakes TV In News, Sports & Daytime In Viewer Preference & Approaches

written by: Richard Kastelein

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shutterstock 65311210Americans 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.

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

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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