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Social TV Twice As Popular For Live Vs. Time-Shifted Viewing: Study

Social TV features are twice as likely to be used during live broadcasts than time-shifted viewing, according to a study by Viacom Media Networks -- highlighting the opportunity for TV networks to use social media drive live tune-in.

In the study, "Social TV: Viewers C's The Moment," Viacom explored how people are using social media to engage with their favorite TV shows.

The study found that viewers engage in an average of seven different types of social TV activities -- both online and offline -- on at least a weekly basis. Social TV fans reported feeling "left out" of the conversation if they missed a live airing.

"One of the main goals of this research was to understand how to inspire social TV activity among our audiences," said Colleen Fahey Rush, executive vice president and chief research officer for Viacom Media Networks. "At VMN, we're 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."

The top request for content among social users is full-length episodes (88%), followed by sneak peeks of new episodes (75%), and behind-the-scenes extras (71%) and highlight clips (71%). The majority of TV socializers are interested in rewards with real value, like free merchandise or signed cast photos, Viacom found.

The leading source of discovery of social TV services is through search (38%), followed by social networks themselves (26%) and ads run on shows (22%).

Smartphones dominate the use of social TV apps at 82%, trailed by tablets at 18%, according to the Viacom study. For services that are delivered via websites and associated apps, 52% of usage occurs on smartphones or tablets, with usage on desktop or laptops at 48%.

For those that use "check-in" services, such as Miso or GetGlue, 71% check in to a show to let their friends know and 64% check in to let other fans of the show know.

The two-phase study involved 24 focus groups in Boston and San Diego with Viacom viewers age 13-52 who engage in social TV activities on at least a weekly basis, and a national online survey with more than 1,500 viewers aged 13-54.