Who’s Watching Online Video?

May 2, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Broadcast & Cable | Digital | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

IABGfK-Online-Video-Viewer-Profile-May2013Online video attracts a significant audience, with 1 in 5 or more American adults watching a TV show online (23%), user-generated content (UGC – 31%), or originally produced online video (OPOV – 19%) on at least a monthly basis, per results from an IAB study [pdf] conducted by GfK. But who are these viewers? The study profiles the audience of each online video type, finding that they each skew male, but more so among OPOV viewers. Viewers of original online content also skew older than those who watch TV shows online.

Looking first at the gender split, the study reveals that 55% of “TV Online” (network TV shows online) are male, with a similar split (56% male/44% female) among user-generated content streamers. Among OPOV viewers (for shows such as House of Cards), males account for 60% of the audience.

While watching funny cat videos on YouTube might seem to be a more youthful activity, it turns out that regular (monthly+) viewers of user-generated content are older on average than TV Online viewers, with mean ages of 38.7 and 36.1, respectively. OPOV viewers are the oldest, by a slight margin, with a mean age of 38.9.

Viewers of originally produced and user-generated content also differ from TV Online viewers in their relationship status, with 51% of the former being married, versus 46% of the latter.

Some other highlights of the profile (all data limited to monthly+ viewers) include:

  • UGC viewers sporting the highest median household income, of $67,200, compared to $62,300 for TV Online viewers and $62,900 for OPOV viewers;
  • 66% of the UGC audience counting as “non-ethnic,” versus 62% of OPOV viewers and 64% of TV Online viewers;
  • Close to 4 in 10 viewers of each online video content type having attained at least college grad status;
  • Slightly more than 6 in 10 of each group owning a smartphone; and
  • About 40% of each audience being a tablet owner.

While the average age of a regular (monthly+) streamer lies outside the 18-34 bracket, that age bracket is more likely to have streamed video “yesterday” than the overall adult population. For example, 32% of males aged 18-34 (and 25% of females of that age) reported watching TV Online “yesterday,” versus 15% of the adult population on average. Similar gaps showed up for UGC and OPOV streaming: 18-34-year-old males were about twice as likely as the average adult to have streamed “yesterday,” with a narrower difference seen between 18-34-year-old females and the sample average.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 2,425 adults screened from a general population sample for being monthly+ viewers of online video and “ever” users of either TV Online, UGC, or OPOV. Full surveys were completed with 1,005 monthly+ viewers. Due to robust sample sizes, analysis was performed on monthly+ users of each video type.

The survey was conducted from March 19-March 25, 2013.

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