Advanced Television

1 in 5 Americans connect social media and TV

April 11, 2014

Nineteen per cent of online Americans ages 15-54 say they are reached by social media at least once a day regarding primetime TV, according to a Council for Research Excellence (CRE) study. For example, someone who saw something or posted something about a primetime TV show on Facebook or Twitter would fall within this category.

Sixteen per cent of primetime TV viewing occasions involve some interaction with social media. During nearly half of these occasions (7.3 per cent of primetime TV viewing instances), the viewer is engaging with social media specifically about the show being viewed. These viewing occasions constitute the study’s definition of ‘socially connected viewing’ – occasions when people engage in social media about a TV show while watching that show.

Socially connected TV viewing is most evident with new TV shows, which indexed at 142, and sports programming, which indexed at 129.

On 11.4 per cent of primetime TV viewing occasions, viewers are using Facebook; on 3.3 per cent of viewing occasions, they’re using Twitter. On 3.8 per cent of primetime viewing occasions, viewers are using Facebook regarding the show they are watching – making them socially connected viewers. This compares to 1.8 per cent for Twitter. Therefore, Facebook’s socially connected viewing occasions were 33 per cent of its total TV viewing occasions (3.8 per cent/11.4 per cent) while Twitter’s were 55 per cent (1.8 per cent/3.3 per cent).

These are among additional findings from the CRE’s recently completed study – Talking Social TV 2 – a follow-up to the CRE’s 2012-2013 Talking Social TV study.

“A key question we sought to address is how social media usage relates to new viewing platforms and behaviours – for example tablet usage or binge viewing,” said Beth Rockwood, senior vice president, market resources, of Discovery Communications, who chairs the CRE’s Social Media Committee. “The majority of viewing remains live and on traditional TV sets, but we do see that social media use has a stronger relationship with the newer platforms and behaviours. This is evidence that social media is an important part of the new ways that people are consuming television content.”

Socially connected viewing is led by viewing via a channel app or website (152 index to total) and on-demand TV (137 index).

Social media influence is closely linked to viewing on non-traditional screens. Tablets and phones index at 287 per cent and 241 per cent, respectively, among all screens watched by those influenced by social media.

Socially connected viewing is closely linked to ‘binge viewing’. Viewing multiple episodes indexed at 146, compared to 104 for current episodes.

The Super Connectors – those most engaged with social media in relation to their TV viewing – represented 22 per cent of participants and are distinguished by their daily use of social media to follow TV shows, or actors and personalities, or to communicate about TV characters. A newer category, sports super connectors, represented 17 per cent of study participants. TV super connectors and sports super connectors each are twice as likely to be socially connected on Facebook and on Twitter than the average.

TV super connectors skew 62 per cent female, sports super connectors skew 57 per cent male, both are in their mid-30s (median age 34 for TV super connectors and 35 for sports super connectors), and both are above-average in multicultural representation.

Categories: APPS, Articles, Companion devices, Consumer Behaviour, Mobile, Research, Social Media