NEW YORK: Almost one quarter of the American adult population is turning to original digital video programming at least once a month, and new research shows this is attracting the difficult-to-reach 18-34 year-old audience of cord-cutters.

For the 2015 Original Digital Video Study,published by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), a trade body, a total of 1,900 people were screened for viewing of online video and full interviews then completed with 856 who viewed online video at least once a month.

Overall there has been a 13% increase in the number of American adults watching original digital video programming, a total of some 59m, with 18-34 year-old audience of cord-cutters/cord-nevers accounting for 29% and growing.

The report showed that young cord-cutters/cord-nevers were about twice as likely as other adults to view original digital video.

Further, 53% of cord-cutters and 63% of cord-nevers saw this type of programming as very/somewhat important in their decision not to have pay-TV. 

And, encouragingly for advertisers, a significant proportion (43%) of these viewers were also more likely to regard ads shown during this type of programming to be "more interesting" or "fun".

The study also highlighted the speed of the shift in viewing habits. While the proportion of respondents viewing original digital video on computer has remained steady over the past two years at 72%, it has more than doubled for connected TVs (56%), smartphones (56%) and tablets (48%).

Two-thirds (65%) of those streaming original digital video to connected TVs stated that they typically watched during primetime (8-11pm) and half (53%) said they did so more than a year ago, largely because there was more – and more interesting – content.

Word of mouth was still the most important way people discover original digital video content, cited by 53% of respondents. But the role of social media is growing rapidly: almost twice as many found new programming here compared with two years ago (42% vs. 24% in 2013).

Anna Bager, svp/Mobile and Video, IAB, said original digital video was "at the heart of a sea change across the media landscape.

"Viewers' preferences and behaviours are shifting, and so too will advertising dollars," she added.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff