Social Media Drives TV Watching
Everyone knows that the “screens” (TV, laptop, mobile device, another mobile device) are colliding and overlapping, but how exactly do online behaviors and TV viewing interact? TV Guide took a whack at understanding the relationship between social media buzz and TV watching with a new survey of 3,041 U.S. adults, and found that social media buzz does indeed help drive TV watching.
Overall 71% of respondents reported having seen social impressions about TV shows, meaning any kind of mention in social media, covering a broad range of venues including the usual suspects like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and so on. Meanwhile 17% of respondents said they have started to watch a show because of a social impression, and 31% said they’ve continued to watch a show because of a social impression.
Among those influenced to start watching a show by a social media impression, 76% said they were prompted to start watching by positive comments about the show, 64% cited social media buzz about topics or storylines that interested them, and 13% said “I like to watch what others watch.” Among those influenced to continue watching a show by social media, 77% said it helped keep up their interest in shows, 66% said the topics or storylines discussed on social media were interesting, and 34% said social buzz around controversial moments helped keep them engaged.
For comparison’s sake, among those who haven’t been influenced by social media to start watching a show, 80% cited TV ads and 46% cited word of mouth as reasons they start watching shows.
Interestingly, the survey found that social media influence on TV watching can take some unexpected forms. For example, 27% of respondents said they’ve begun watching more live TV because of plot spoilers revealed on social media -- up from 20% in 2010. I’ll call this the “social media spoiler aversion effect.”