New research shows that online video series have a higher audience engagement level than that of standard TV programming. The research was done by Web TV network creator Next New Networks and YouTube, and research/consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates.During two months of polling this spring, 54% of people who said they watch Web original videos thought them to be as much as or more entertaining than traditional TV shows. They made a very real distinction between the two and believed that they could note be lumped into one category as they are different forms of video. The videos were seen to be original, have fewer boundaries and more adaptable to personal viewing. That last part is obviously because they are online and can be watched whenever the viewer desires.

“The study uncovered strong consumer appeal of Web original programming as compared to traditional television shows,” said Mike Vorhaus, managing director of Frank Magid Associates. “The findings confirm what many have believed for some time now: there is incredible content and talent available on the Web.”

A whopping 60% say they watch original Web content weekly and 58% said they view it as quality entertainment, on demand. Whether it was more or less entertaining than TV, only 25% said it was more. In terms of full engagement, online video was 2.5 times more likely to induce full engagement than TV programming did.

Other quick stats:

  • Over 50% read comments on the videos
  • 41% rate the videos they watch
  • 37% of viewers surf the web while watching online video versus 60% of TV viewers
  • 28% talk to others with online video while 52% do so during TV (I hate people that talk during TV and film)
  • Over 75% said they tell others via email, social networks or face-to-face about their favorite online originals.
  • 40% share them with others, 37% email links, 36% post on Facebook/MySpace, 10% use Twitter to share.