With Digital Content Newfronts kicking off in New York, event sponsor Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has released a study detailing the popularity of what it calls “original professional online video” (OPOV). Per IAB, such video now receive 45 million monthly uniques in the United States.

Let’s put that number in perspective a bit. The most recent Comscore report claimed that more than 182 million Americans watched an online video at some point during March 2013. Therefore, about a quarter of web video viewers in America watched OPOV.

But what is OPOV? IAB defines it as content “produced only for online viewing, not for showing on TV, but with professional production quality.” The study specifically notes media channels like Wall Street Journal Live News, online-only platforms like Netflix Originals and Funny or Die, and YouTube’s Original Channels as examples of this category. When you consider how many people use the Internet as an on-demand cat video generator or a place to stick their high school English project, 25% seems like a sign of strength for online video professionals.

View the full report here.

“It is very exciting to have the opportunity to benchmark viewing levels to original professionally produced online video as the ad marketplace is evolving,” said Sherrill Mane, SVP of Research, Analytics and Measurement at IAB. “It is particularly telling that this kind of programming is attracting a large following – 45 million already – while also bringing viewing experiences and ad receptivity that compare favorably with regular TV.”

Mane’s use of the word “already” implies that OPOV is just getting started. Sure enough, this week’s Newfronts presentations will details the ways in which online video companies plan to ramp up and get that figure even higher than 45 million.

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