IAB Study: 26 Percent of U.S. Adults Now Watching Original Digital Video

Preferring on-demand options, 63 million watch it every month

A growing number of U.S. adults are shifting their viewing habits toward original digital video, according to a new study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The audience of U.S. adults watching original video programs online at least once a month has grown to 63 million from 45 million in 2013 with users describing digital video as more "innovative," "memorable" and "fun," according to the study released today and conducted in partnership with Gfk.

In the study, shows that count as original digital videos (ODV) vary, ranging from content produced by media companies to online-only companies like Funny or Die or YouTube Originals. People who watch videos not supported by ads like those on Netflix or Amazon were not included in IAB and Gfk's report.

According to IAB, 26 percent of the U.S. adult population now watch original digital video. The study found that those who do watch online prefer it over prime-time, news, sports or daytime TV. Around 62 percent of those surveyed said they prefer original digital video over prime-time TV because it allows them to watch their shows on their own schedule.

According to Kristina Sruoginis, IAB's director of research, eight out of 10 advertisers have increased their original digital budgets as a result of attending Newfronts events. In the past year alone, internet advertising revenue has grown to $59.6 billion, tripling since 2010, with two-thirds of ad buyers saying they'll spend more on digital and mobile video over the next 12 months.

"If you're a buyer and you're in this room, you're already over budget, so plan to expand your budgets," Sruoginis said on Wednesday afternoon at an IAB event during the second week of the annual Digital Content Newfronts.

The study found that ads in original digital video also proved to be more memorable to viewers than they were a year ago, making them even with ads in the online television category. Those watching the news also were more likely to remember ads than they were in 2015. Median income for the audience also went up this year, rising 9 percent.

And while mobile video has been all the rage at many Newfronts presentations this year, 68 percent of respondents said they still use laptops or desktops for viewing original video content online. Around 60 percent said they used smartphones, while 56 percent mentioned internet-connected TVs. Tablets or e-readers were mentioned by 43 percent of respondents.