Facebook, Twitter Aren't Driving Viewers To TV

Social media's promise and promotion to drive viewers to TV programs may be yielding low results.

When people were asked whether they watched a TV show or movie because of buzz on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, 67% said "no" and 19% said "yes." Another 14% said they do not use social media. This first-quarter 2013 survey comes from Digitalsmiths, a video discovery/search company.

Social media posting while watching TV may be overestimated as well. According to the study, 75% of of respondents said they do not post on social networks about what they’re watching.

Digitalsmiths says finding are related to the distribution/availability of social networks for average TV viewers. The study notes: "We believe these numbers will remain low until social updating/posting becomes a more integrated part of pay-TV platforms, and the demographic using social networks catches up with the larger TV subscriber demographic."

That said, TV viewers seem open to suggestions/recommendations. When asked "would you like the ability to find something to watch based on the mood you’re in, forty-nine percent said "yes" and 47% said "no."

The study also says pay-TV providers -- cable, satellite, and telco -- can make up the slack by helping make TV discovery easier. When it comes to program guides, search tools, and other functions, "pay-TV providers could go ahead and deliver recommendations that would introduce a subscriber to content they’re not currently watching, based on what other subscribers with similar interests and viewing habits are watching."



16 comments about "Facebook, Twitter Aren't Driving Viewers To TV".
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  1. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates, March 4, 2013 at 11:37 a.m.


    Give me a break. Nothing at all on the sample for this research? Nothing at all on how many respondents? Nothing at all about the quality of this research?

    And you just "publish" it?

    You know what's on the Digitalsmiths' website about this research? Your article.

    And you quote these data as if they were meaningful? Have you looked at this research at all?

    Sorry, but you are not serving your readers here.


  2. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, March 4, 2013 at 12:24 p.m.

    I'm with Marshall on needing to know the fundamentals. And, certainly this result wouldn't surprise me. The "social TV" theory seems to a classic case of taking one-dimension of something (e.g. people share about the shows they watch) then blowing it by figuring that means its an opportunity to for social marketing. A classic social media fallacy we see just about everywhere.

  3. Terry Heaton from Reinvent21, March 4, 2013 at 1:51 p.m.

    I never have like the word "driving." Who wants to be "driven," like a hitchhiker on the road to somebody's cash register (as if that were our reason for being)? On the issue itself, I've had clients who were very successful "inviting" people to turn on a newscast just prior to something airing that's relevant to their day.

  4. Dan Cho from Agency X, March 4, 2013 at 5:49 p.m.

    19% is a lot! One out of five people said they watched something b/c of something they saw on social. Even if this data is completely inaccurate and comes from a "video/search" company.

  5. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 4, 2013 at 9:54 p.m.

    I do not carry a brief for Facebook, Twitter or TV, but I do carry a flag for Research Quality and Quality Journalism.
    It's one thing for Wayne Friedman to blog. It's another thing for Wayne Friedman & MediaPost to pretend he is reporting the news in MediaDailyNews when he delivers a story like this one. The lack of time to do things rights has never been an excuse for poor reporting -- and is no excuse in 2013. Marshall Cohen is thoroughly correct and Doug Garnett should have stopped after agreeing with Marshall. I hereby call upon the Editor of MediaPost to articulate the journalistic standards of MediaDailyNews and see to it that MediaPost reporters meet the highest journalistic standards when reporting -- as opposed to the lowest common denominator of e-Journalism. Onwards and upwards!

  6. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 4, 2013 at 9:59 p.m.


    Twitter Reaction to Events Often at Odds with Overall Public Opinion

    The reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs a great deal from public opinion as measured by surveys, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.

    The year-long study compared the results of national polls to the tone of tweets in response to eight major news events, including the outcome of the presidential election, the first presidential debate and major speeches by Barack Obama.

    At times the Twitter conversation is more liberal than survey responses, while at other times it is more conservative. Often it is the overall negativity that stands out. Much of the difference may have to do with both the narrow sliver of the public represented on Twitter as well as who among that slice chose to take part in any one conversation.

    For the full study, go to http://www.pewresearch.org/2013/03/04/twitter-reaction-to-events-often-at-odds-with-overall-public-opinion/. This study is for immediate release and is available at the Pew Research Center website at http://www.pewresearch.org.

  7. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates, March 5, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.


    Check out how A & E used Twitter to build ratings.....

  8. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 5, 2013 at 10:35 p.m.

    Marshall, Please do not give Wayne Friedman any fuel by even hinting that the Ad Age story provides compelling evidence of anything other than SMOCD (Social Media Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Just where is the causal link between Tweeting and tuning in the story you reference? Our collective obsession with the ability to make digital small (read "minuscule") talk is perplexing to say the least. We'll need much more evidence to draw cause & effect conclusions than either MediaPost or AdAge provides. Onwards and upwards!

  9. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 6, 2013 at 10:35 a.m.

    Until an appropriate reply is offered to the MediaDailyNews reading community, I shall repeat daily the respectful and important request I made on March 4:

    "I hereby call upon the Editor of MediaPost to articulate the journalistic standards of MediaDailyNews and to see to it that MediaPost reporters meet the highest journalistic standards when reporting -- as opposed to the lowest common denominator of e-Journalism.

    Onwards and upwards!"

    (Obviously, the answer ought to be framed in the context of the news story that warranted the request.)

    Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/194791/facebook-twitter-arent-driving-viewers-to-tv.html#ixzz2Mm2ybGWh

  10. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates, March 6, 2013 at 10:50 a.m.

    This is so interesting.

    Wayne Friedman cites Digitalsmiths's research study as if it were the gospel on this topic and then, oddly, when you go to the Digitalsmiths's Internet site (where they have a section for "press releases") they have nothing on their study....and then, again on their Internet site, (where they have a section for "in the news") they simply have Wayne's above article.

  11. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 6, 2013 at 7:12 p.m.

    Even more interesting is the opportunity you gave Digitalsmiths on March 4 to "get smart!"

    Then again, I suspect their mission is to provide "video monetization products for media companies."

    (Doesn't sound like a "formula" for arm's length research to me. Hope I am incorrect.)

    Perhaps I shall wrap this gap into my daily request for MediaPost to "step up."

    In the meantime, all concerned should read this coverage of a recent Pew Study: "Never the tweet nor the survey shall meet..." http://www.research-live.com/4009302.article

  12. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 7, 2013 at 7:32 p.m.

    DAY 4:

    Here we are 24 hours after my announcement that I would comment daily on the quality of reporting in MediaDailyNews UNTIL the Editor of MediaPost explains the Wayne Friedman article of March 1 regarding the impact (or lack of impact) from Facebook and Twitter on TV Ratings. More specifically, I asked for a statement of journalistic standards that would prevent future vacuous reporting.

    In addition, I called for Digitalsmiths to come forward with clarification of their survey findings. Using Marshall Cohen's methodology, I have just checked the Digitalsmiths' website and continue to find the same tautological reference to MediaDailyNews.

    (Doesn't anyone read anymore?)

    Finally, the comments associated with the original story appear to have disappeared from MediaPost's latest edition of the MediaDailyNews-Section 3-"Feedback Loop."

    I hope I need not start a Facebook or Twitter campaign to get the attention that these fundamental questions warrant. It would be ironic, would it not?

    Onwards and upwards!

    PS Here's an example of how to report a story about research and Twitter:

    "Science reveals what really increases Twitter followers | Poynter.":


  13. M Cohen from marshall cohen associates, March 8, 2013 at 9:33 a.m.

    Research guys can be such a pain. But truly all I wanted to know was how the "survey" was conducted. Sample? Sample size? Who did it? When was it done? What were the questions?

    My pet peeve, and I will admit it, is watching out for journalists and publications reporting on polls and on research without informing their readers about the methodology used in the studies....as if they were solid pieces of research....when they are garbage.

  14. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 8, 2013 at 11:35 a.m.

    No pain, no gain.

    Onwards and upwards!

  15. Joe Mandese from MediaPost Inc., March 8, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.

    First, let me apologize to all the great commenters on this string for weighing in so late, but thank you for keeping the heat on us. It’s a good thing, and one of the nice parts about having public comments forums on our stories, especially ones like this. Among other things, it says that what we publish matters to you, and that you care enough to set the record straight when you think we get it wrong.

    Believe me, I am as guilty as any journalist in the trade or consumer press of citing research in ways that may not pass the muster -- if not defined standards -- of our industry’s research authorities. That's no excuse, it’s just a recognition that journalists sometimes have different missions -- and acumen -- than research professionals when it comes to using research.

    Secondly, I’d like to give you all a heads up that we will be publishing something on Monday that relates to this very subject, and that we will be adding some coverage that will hopefully shed more light on the way the press, MediaPost included, cover media and advertising industry research.

    Lastly, Wayne has gone back to the folks at Digitalsmiths and gotten some of the answers to your questions. Here they are: The findings were based on an online survey of more than 1,850 people conducted Jan. 25th to Feb. 1st. It was conducted by a “well-known third party survey company,” and the respondent base included Digitalsmiths employees, “friends and family,” which accounted for less than 8% of the responses. All of the respondents were located in the U.S. or Canada.

  16. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, March 8, 2013 at 2:54 p.m.

    Mr. Mandese and MediaPost Publications:

    Thank you for replying to the thoughts expressed by this commentator. I remain concerned and would like to offer some further considerations and guidance on this critical matter.

    First, I recommend that reporters and readers consult AAPOR's (American Association For Public Opinion Research) "Survey Disclosure Checklist" [http://www.aapor.org/Survey_Disclosure_Checklist1.htm] as well as its "Standards for Minimal Disclosure" [http://www.aapor.org/Disclosure_Standards1.htm] in order to obtain basic guidance on what is minimally necessary to do from an intellectual and ethical perspective when it comes to reporting the results of a scientific research study.

    Second, I mention "ethics" because journalism and research both have a fiduciary responsibility toward the public with a profound ethical component that warrants close attention.

    When one learns after-the-fact that the sample for a reported study includes respondents that are employed by the company "sponsoring" the study, one does well to question the "conflicts of interest" and the "biases" that may be inherent in the research given the "funding support."

    If the banking industry can have grave problems with fraudulent Foreclosure practices, then research providers can be deliquent in meeting their Disclosure obligations.

    And the Press -- Digital or Print -- should not perpetuate the problem or be complicit in creating a false impression.

    In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, I am a longtime member of AAPOR -- and WAPOR.

    Once again, thank you. Looking forward to Monday's publication...

    Onwards and upwards!

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