Rather than cannibalize “old media,” some online activities can actually boost viewership. In particular, new research shows that social media can significantly increase consumers’ TV time.
A majority (58%) of heavy engagers -- i.e., consumers who share related thoughts via social networks at least 10 times a week -- report watching more live TV, according to an iModerate Research Technologies study.
Adam Rossow, vice president of marketing at iModerate, says there are several reasons for the synergy. “The respondents in this study consistently remarked that it makes TV more fun,” he said.
There is also “the desire to keep up with the conversation” -- especially if and when someone becomes recognized as an online authority on a particular show or genre.
An increasing number of viewers also "love the social interaction and frequently add shows to their viewing lineup due to social chatter,” Rossow notes. “That adds up to more time spent on social networks and more hours watching television.”
Among some 150 males and females who engage in what Rossow calls “social TV” at least once a week, the emerging behavior has also made these viewers into more active consumers and influencers.
To that end, one-third of respondents said their primary reason for engaging in social TV was either to give feedback to the television network or to show support for their television program.
What sort of consumers are participating in social TV? iModerate found three specific types, which it groups as “The Spots Nut,” “The Extrovert” and “The Girlfriend.”
Sports nuts are 25-54 males who partake in social TV primarily for “big games.” They post more than five times a week on social media and enjoy debating sports, talking trash, celebrating and venting about their teams and showing off their sports knowledge.
Extroverts are 18- to-34-year-old males who have a vast network of virtual and personal friends. They make new friends online in chat rooms. By posting about social TV, they consider social friends to be “real” friends.
Finally, “the girlfriend” is a 25-44 female who mainly engages in social TV while watching dramas and reality shows. According to iModerate, she relates deeply to her favorite shows and looks forward to the “girls’ night out” aspect of interacting with them through social TV.
The study also found that beyond giving feedback and supporting their shows, individuals engage in social TV to be relevant and recognized, be part of a community, maintain relationships, and have virtual “hang out time” with friends.