Social Media: Just A PART Of TV Program Marketing

Social media and TV are good, but on-air promos are three times better -- especially for getting people to watch new shows.

A new Council on Research Excellence study, from the Keller Fay Group and fielded by Nielsen Life360, makes that point.

It also seems that social media, as many have said, isn’t spread equally among a broad range of demographics. “Social media definitely has become established as a second-screen for a select group of viewers [emphasis added],” said Beth Rockwood, senior VP for market resources at Discovery Communications and chairwoman of the CRE’s Social Media Committee.

The study says the average consumer interacting with social media-related TV content skews 58% female, and 20% Hispanic, with a median age of 35. Overall, Hispanics over-index (143) compared with other demographic groups engaged with social TV among TV viewers.                           



Facebook social-TV users skew female and Hispanic, and are aged 35 to 44. Twitter was found to be more evenly split by gender and among Hispanics and African Americans, and more skewed to the 15-24 and 25-34 age groups.

Analysts had figured out much of this for some time. It doesn’t mean that social media isn’t valuable, but it seems useful for specific audiences at specific times.

Take viewership of the average prime-time TV program-- around 55% to 60% female and 40% to 45% male. So male-targeted marketers will buy more heavily for prime-time and weekend sports programming.

Social media is still the new shiny object of our fascination. But Rockwood’s comments put it all in perspective: It’s only a select part  of the overall picture -- a small piece of the puzzle – in TV program marketing.

To be fair, while on-promos are still king, they are surely weakening, because the networks have to deal with fewer ratings points when they air them.

But the reason isn’t social media -- it’s because viewership numbers are affected by other kinds of distractions, including cable TV, syndicated TV, over-the-top video, general digital media, mobile usage, video game usage -- and possibly gazing into space when there is too much media and too little time for media consumption.

No doubt, all these activities also cater to specific media consumer groups. Figuring out those metrics -- conflicting and otherwise -- is key to a bigger marketing story.

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