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How Social Media Affects our TV Viewing Habits

Author: Adi Gaskell

The Internet and social media have largely been accused of having a negative influence upon the media industry.  Research over the past twelve months has however been looking at how social media positively influences television.

The Social TV Lab for instance is a project headed by Wharton, and aims to look at how television is using social media to change how shows are produced and broadcast.

Research agency Nielsen have also done some digging around to better understand how our social chatter impacts our viewing habits.  They’ve produced a new paper called “How Chatter Matters in TV Viewing” in association with cable industry association CTAM.

The study reveals a powerful connection between what we post on Facebook and our TV viewing habits.

About 49% of women surveyed (and 43% of men) said they began watching a show because their Facebook friends were taking about it on the social network. Twitter conversations prompted more men (16%) to start tuning in than women (14%).

A key takeaway from the study was that heavy social media users were as influential, if not more so, than journalists, celebrities or even the networks themselves.

The key advertising demographic of 18-34 year olds were found to be particularly active on social media.  54% of those in this age group said they could watch a show because of friends talking about it on Facebook.

Nearly half of viewers 35 to 49 years old said their interest was piqued by Facebook comments, while 12% said they were intrigued by Twitter remarks. Older viewers were less influenced by social media conversations, Nielsen found.

The study revealed that television viewing has become social currency. Some 70% of people said they chatted in person, on the phone or online during commercials — and also while watching the show. Live sporting events were among the most comment-worthy, as 35% of viewers said they talked, posted or sent messages during a competition and 30% conversed during commercial breaks.

“This snapshot shows social media is influential for all viewers, particularly the 18-34 year olds,”said CTAM Chief Executive Char Beales. “Networks need to provide many ways for viewers to discover and talk about their shows — second-screen apps, fan sites, network sites and by seeding social media — find out what works best for their audience, and take advantage of the new opportunities to spur conversations. “

Thanks to Technorati

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