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Live Viewing Boosts Social Media Usage

Viewers are communicating, consuming content and checking
comments through social TV, according to a new study by Viacom that found that
live viewing is a key to the phenomenon.

The study found that viewers engage in an average of seven
different types of social TV activities -- online or offline -- on at least a
weekly basis. The most common activities were watching TV with others,
searching for extra content and viewing clips from shows on social networks.

"One of the main goals of this research was to understand
how to inspire social TV activity among our audiences," Colleen Fahey Rush,
executive VP and chief research officer for Viacom Media Networks, said in a
statement. "We are focused on
leveraging our fans' attachment to their favorite shows by developing
compelling social TV services and apps that deepen those connections and unlock
the value of social chatter."

Viacom called
communicating a top priority among social TV users. "When I'm watching Jersey Shore, I have Facebook chats with
10 friends and I'm texting a dozen people, and I can be on the phone to my best
friend," said one participant in the study.

Overall, when it
comes to chatting, 56% of those involved in the study preferred communicating
through a social TV app, 53% through Facebook, and 50% use individual or group
texts. Among those that use check-in services, 71% check in to a show to let
their friends know that they're watching, and 64% check in to let other fans of
the show know.

Content is also
very important in social TV. Viewers want special content from social TV beyond
what can be found through online searches. What users want most is full-length
episodes, followed by behind-the-scenes extras and highlights.

Most social TV
users also like rewards, such as merchandise or signed photos from the cast of
the shows they watch. Interest in trivia and other games rise if they offer
some sort of prize as well. Real fans want games to be challenging and test
their knowledge, Viacom found.

Social TV users
also check comments about favorite shows. Viacom says that comment can provide
different points of view or a chance to pick up on something a viewer might
have missed about the program. Most importantly, comments create a connection
between fan and show.

Fans enjoy
comments most when they come from the cast and crew of a favorite show. They
also look for comments from people they know.

Viacom also found
that live viewing is a key to social TV activity. Communication, content and
comments were twice more likely to be used during live viewing than delayed
viewing. "Social TV enthusiasts feel left out of the conversation if they
missed an episode of a favorite show live, Viacom found.

Social TV
activities also rise directly after a live show.