TV's Reach: WOM More Powerful Than Social Media

Los Angeles -- A majority of TV influence/recommendations comes from “word-of-mouth” face-to-face conversations, with digital social media taking a back seat.

Speaking at the Television Critics Association, CBS Corp. Chief Research Officer David Poltrack says an initial study from word-of-mouth media researcher Keller Fay Group shows that word-of-mouth delivers the dominant number of impressions about TV shows.

Some 80% of 80 million “buzz” impressions come from “face-to-face communications,” it says, with 10% of those impressions coming from private phone conversations and 3% from social media -- which includes Twitter, Facebook, Viggle, GetGlue, Tumblr, Foursquare, Pinterest, Instagram, and a dozen other sites. Four percent come from instant messaging, 2% from email and 1% from “other" sources.

“Online communication through social media accounts for just 3% of all daily communication about television programming,” says Poltrack. “This would not be a problem for media companies seeking to record, analyze and hopefully, shape these conversations if the 3% of the total conversations they were able to observe were representative of the other 97% of the conversations.”

Poltrack offered up one example in looking at social media and TV ratings -- CBS’ recent “Under the Dome” and Syfy’s “Sharknado.” The initial airing of “Dome” pulled in a Nielsen 13.5 million viewers and 125,900 social media comments, as compiled by social media researcher Trendrr; “Sharknado” grabbed 1.4 million viewers and 697,800 social media comments.

“Where is the disconnect?,” Poltrack asks. “Remember, these services are only capturing the conversations of those who talk about these programs online.”

Keller Fay says its new ongoing syndicated media study, called "Fall TV Show TalkTrack," will be based on research among a representative sample of 1,500 consumers per week for a four-week period. Consumers will use a diary to keep track of the TV shows that they talk about, whether face-to-face, over the phone, via social media, texting, or email, as well as the sentiment of those conversations. The study will focus on newly launched shows.
Tags: social media, tv, wom
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3 comments about "TV's Reach: WOM More Powerful Than Social Media".
  1. Lawrence Oflahavan from Boxer Films , July 30, 2013 at 8:15 a.m.
    Wayne... Seriously this WOM is a joke right... sending this article to a friend at SNL.. Fall TV Show TalkTrack... "Consumers will use a diary of the TV shows that they talk about..." Hilarious finally tracking done right!
  2. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston , July 30, 2013 at 8:35 a.m.
    A TV guy tells TV people that TV is wonderful. Welcome to the echo chamber.
  3. John Grono from GAP Research , July 30, 2013 at 9:48 a.m.
    So Lawrence, a "survey" that tracks only a sliver of the population is "tracking done right" (sic)? And yeah, over the decades WOM has meant nothing to brands (not just TV programmes) because it is a joke. Widen the prism you view the world through. As Einstein is reported to have said - not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted. I welcome KF taking on this challenge and look forward to the results.