Tweets and Facebook Recommendations Can't Beat WOM for Online Viewing

 Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and even in a digital age in which actually speaking to people seems a kind of quaint idea, some people must still do it. 

In fact, according to a study from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 59% of viewers mainly depend on the recommendations of friends and family to decide what to watch online.

Only 4% use social media for their viewing cues. Hulu and Netflix recommendations, to the extent they give them, only influenced 5%.

That’s what they say. I’m especially suspicious of surveys that ask how it is that I happened to be doing what I’m doing because the whole conversion thing is mostly a blur.

But I would say this: The chance I would watch something because of a Twitter or Facebook recommendation is just about nil, I think.

And yet since my Twitter and Facebook connections are somewhat of a like mind (natch), it’s quite possible and maybe probable that they can serve as good reminders.

And I’d make one exception. If I happened to be on Twitter when I saw word that something was on, somewhere, right that minute, well, I might be there.

Bottom line, Twitter can be a kind of digital word-of-mouth device, practically, but it’s not the same thing. Because, I think, in a real world of word-of-mouth, there is an exchange of information about specific items.  That’s what makes it valuable. It’s unique.

The study is talked about on the bizjournals.com site in a story by Gina Hall,  a Los Angeles-based TV/doc/feature film writer and producer who also notes that in the study, viewers 18-34 like Hulu, because it’s free. If they have to pay, like with Hulu Plus, they’d rather not. So, the commercial model seems safe, in that regard

Hall concludes viewers seem to be pretty cheap, if they have to buy programs on a per-piece basis. About 80% won’t pay  more than $1.99 per month for a favorite program, and she says, about 57% said they'd prefer to pay less than a dollar for that content.

pj@mediapost.com

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