Adding to the debate, new research suggests that social content (including posts from friends, TV networks, a show's stars, celebrities not on a particular show, or anything else that's not an ad) does little to drive show discovery and engagement.
Over the past six months, in fact, just 24% of consumers reported discovering a show through such content on Facebook or Twitter, according to new findings from Hub Entertainment Research. For its research, Hub Entertainment said it recently surveyed more than 1,300 TV consumers between the ages of 16 and 64, who self-identified as regular users of broadband and social media.
By contrast, 58% of respondents reported finding out about a new show through some type of ad (including paid social ads), while 41% attributed “word of mouth” (through a channel other than social) to a show's discovery. A full 34% said old-fashioned channel-surfing turned them on to a new program.
Most respondents said social media plays little or no role when it comes to finding new shows to watch. On a scale of 0-10, 62% gave low ratings (0-5) to social media’s role in discovery, while 27% gave it a zero -- meaning that social plays no role whatsoever in their discovery process.
Overall, those consumers who do report engaging with their favorite shows through Facebook or Twitter said they are more likely to watch those shows live. According to Hub Entertainment, however, there are so few of those viewers out there that the impact on overall live viewing is negligible -- just a three-point bump, to 27%.
More broadly, Facebook has far greater reach, both overall and as a tool to communicate about TV content. Indeed, 76% of social media consumers use Facebook daily, and 39% have used Facebook in some way related to a favorite TV show -- compared to just 47% and 17% for Twitter, the research shows.
Separately, Twitter is more associated with show engagement, as 67% of consumers who engage in Twitter activities related to a show report that such activity does cause them care more about the show.
“The good news regarding social media is that Facebook activity related to TV shows is fairly common, and that Twitter activity related to TV shows leads to greater engagement,” Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub, explained in the new report. “But very few do either one, and even among those who do the increase in engagement is not dramatic … So the net impact on a show’s live audience barely registers.”