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IAB Study Charts American's Embrace of Online Video

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Capping the 2014 Digital Content NewFront season, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) -- the organization that schedules and oversees the newfronts -- released fresh data on American's habits in watching original online video.

According to the IAB's "2014 Original Digital Video Study," online video viewers prefer online video over TV for news, sports, and daytime programming. Additionally, they like online video nearly as much as they like primetime TV.

One-fifth of American adults (22 percent, or 52 million) watch at least some original online video each month. The number stood at 45 million in a 2013 study. The number for young adults (18- to 34-years-old) was higher, with two-fifths watching online video monthly.

While people like online video, they consume it differently than broadcast TV. For one thing, they don't plan what they're going to watch. Over half of monthly online video viewers said they didn't plan what they would watch. Only about a quarter of TV viewers said they didn't plan what they would watch.

Online viewers rely on their social networks to point them to good online content. There's a lot of premium original online video around -- as this NewFront season certainly proved -- and discoverability is a challenge. Viewers prefer to get recommendations from social networks, although word-of-mouth is the top source.

Once they've found content they like, online viewers are more likely to spread the word with social media than TV viewers are. Focus groups showed that online video is more often watched alone and in short durations, as compared to TV, which makes sharing links easier.

Viewers reported having a sense of control with online video that they didn't have with television.

The study was conducted in March and April 2014 by GfK, which questioned over 2,300 adults that watch online video. Download the full 60-page study for free (no registration required).

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