Social Media Creating More TV Fans

According a new study by Nielsen, the rise of social TV has changed the television viewing relationship between viewer and show, and Americans are quickly warming up to this new behavior. With tablets, smartphones and laptops at their side, TV viewers can follow their favorite shows, share content and connect with fellow fans before, during and after a program.

According to the study, a quarter of TV viewers reported that they were more aware of TV programs due to their social media interactions in a year-over-year comparison from 2012 to 2013. In 2013, 15% of viewers said they enjoyed watching television more when social media was involved. And when it comes to viewing content, 11% of viewers said they watched more live TV, and 12% said they recorded more programs in 2013 alone. In addition, data from Nielsen’s first-quarter 2014 Cross Platform Report shows that the average adult aged 18 and over now watches 5 hours and 10 minutes of live TV and 34 minutes of time-shifted TV per day. 

Impact of Social Media on TV Viewing (% of Respondents)

Impact

2013

Aware of more programs

25%

Enjoy TV more

15

Record more programs

12

Watch more live TV

11

Sample shows online

8

Watch less because of spoilers

3

Source: Nielsen Q4, 2013

Looking at the effect of social media on ethnic TV viewers, compared to national averages, a greater percentage of African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics report watching more live TV, being aware of more programs, recording programs, and enjoying television more as a result of social media. Social media has the greatest effect on Hispanic TV viewers, says the report, who show the highest program awareness, television enjoyment, and live TV watching of all ethnic groups. African-Americans are the ethnic group most likely to sample new shows online, and Asian Americans, who are also the fastest adopters of new technology, record more programs than any other ethnic group.

With Social Media Ethnic Viewers More Engaged (% of Responses)

 

Ethnicity

Impact

Total

African-American

Hispanic

Asian

Aware of more programs

25%

26%

32%

29%

Enjoy TV more

15

22

26

21

Record more programs

12

13

16

20

Watch more live TV

11

14

18

15

Sample shows online

8

14

10

5

Watch less because of spoilers

3

1

6

5

Source: Nielsen Q4, 2013

In addition to social media, consumers are also using the second screen to engage in other digital activities while watching television content. Among Americans aged 13 years old and older who own a smartphone or tablet, over two-thirds of tablet users and about half of smartphone users said surfing the web was the number one activity they choose to do while watching their favorite programs. In addition, over 40% of tablet owners said shopping or looking up actors, plots, athletes were the top activities they did while watching TV. In terms of smartphone owners, 29% said they emailed or texted friends about a program, and 27% said they checked sports scores.

Connected US Viewers Watch 2nd Screens While Watching TV (% of Respondents)

 

Screen Preference

Additional activity

Smartphone

Tablet

Surfing Web

49%

66%

Shopping

24

44

Checking sports scores

27

29

Looking up actors, plots, athletes, etc.

29

41

Emailing/texting friends about program

29

23

Reading discussion about program

12

18

Buying product/service advertised

7

14

Source: Nielsen, July 2014

The report concludes by noting that audiences aren’t just surfing through channels when the TV is on anymore; they are riding the waves of second screens, continually learning how to incorporate new interests into their style. And, as social media's effect continues to resonate with viewers, advertisers should find opportunities to join the conversations and activities that viewers are engaging with while watching TV.

For additional information from Nielsen, please visit here.

 

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2 comments about "Social Media Creating More TV Fans".
  1. Claudio Marcus from Visible World , August 14, 2014 at 8:10 a.m.
    The problem with these self-reported results is that they lack perspective on the amount of time spent on these TV/social and other TV/multitasking activities. Consider that if you asked people if they go to the bathroom during TV ads, you'd get nearly 100% agreement, but that does not mean they go every ad break. So, while it is interesting to note that many people do multitask while watching TV, the research needs to provide a better sense what portion of their total TV viewing time is affected, and to what extent does it enhance or detract from the viewing experience.
  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , August 14, 2014 at 7:41 p.m.
    Correct, Claudio. The actual figures, if and when they become available on an average minute basis, will look much, much, much smaller than the frequently misinterpreted "findings" in highly generalized polls of this nature.