Next TV: 90% of Viewers Find New Shows By Word of Mouth

Television is immersed in the modern, multiplatform age. But when it comes to the way people discover new shows, a decidely old-school method still rules the day, according to a new study from Viacom.

The primary means by which people find about new shows is through friends and family in person, according to research unveiled Thursday by Viacom executive vice president, chief research officer Colleen Fahey Rush at the Next TV Summit & Expo San Francisco.

Fahey Rush, who was joined on stage for the keynote Q&A by Multichannel News editor-in-chief and moderator Mark Robichaux, said that 90% of study respondents indicated they find out about their next must-see program via word of mouth.

TV promos - another old fashioned way as Fahey Rush put it — came in as the No. 2 way people discover new shows with 85% of respondents citing this methodology as how they find new programs. 

The findings are part of a larger Viacom study titled “Getting With the Program,” which was conducted to find out how people watch TV.

“There’s never been a better time to be a fan,” said Fahey Rush, who joined the company in 1996, explaining later in her presentation that viewers have more ways to watch than ever and they will continue to combine how they consume.

But with all this technology she doesn’t see traditional modalities to watch will go away.

“I think it’s [cable] going to last a long, long time,” she said.

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is an analyst for TVREV and Fabric Media. She previously served in various roles at Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV, working with the brands since 2013. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects in the media and entertainment space, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.