The ways social media is having an impact on TV -- and vice
versa -- is a both a big deal here and a global phenomenon, according to a new
study by Viacom.
In "When Networks Network: TV Gets Social," Viacom says
viewers have three main reasons for TV-related social media use. Those are:
Functional, such as searching for show schedules; communal, such as connecting
with others; and playful, spending time with games or entering contests.
In the U.S., those drivers lead viewers to engage in an
average 11 TV-related activities on social media platforms weekly. Some of the
biggest ones are interacting with friends and fans (69%), following and liking
a TV show (59%), sharing or recommending (65%), watching clips and trailers
(60%), searching for info on when shows air (69%) and playing games and signing
up for free stuff (53%).
"Our objective with this research was not only to
understand what drives our audiences to social media, but also to see how their
social media activity impacts viewing behaviors," Colleen Fahey Rush, executive
VP and chief research officer of Viacom Media Networks. "At Viacom,
we're focused on creating social experiences that continue the conversation
off-screen and deepen the relationships between our fans and their favorite
shows and characters."
According to the report, function trumps all other
motivating factors, including socializing, when it comes to TV-related social
media use. That was true of all the countries in the study, with viewers in
Germany leaning the most towards the functional motivations. Viewers are more
interested in the experiences and content offered by networks and TV shows than
communicating with others on social media.
"We found it intriguing that TV-related social media
behaviors and motivating factors were consistent across all five countries that
we looked at in this study," said Christian Kurz, VP of research, insights and
reporting for Viacom International Media Networks. "Globally, social media is
becoming today's version of a TV guide for viewers -- it is really how they
prefer to get their information about the shows they watch."
In addition to the U.S. and Germany, Viacom studied viewers
in the U.K., Brazil and Russia.
Functional motives are stronger for teens and young adults.
Viewers 13-17 years-old are most likely to use social media to search for show
schedules and exclusive videos, while those ages 18-24 are most likely to
search for the latest show news and to access spoilers, according to the
Social media ranked fourth (41%) as a source of show
discovery, behind promos (59%), word of mouth (54%) and TV channel sites
(45%). The exception was Brazil, where
social media ranked even higher as a source of show discovery, second only to
The research revealed that social media-fueled show
discovery uniquely and positively impacts live tune-in, with viewers
significantly more likely to watch a show premiere on live TV when that show is
discovered via social media. According to the report, 71% said they are likely to
watch the live debut of a show that was discovered on social media, versus 50%
live if it was discovered elsewhere.
Drivers of live tune-in from social media include a Facebook
friend's comment, a show's post or a friend "liking" the show.
Viacom's networks see opportunities for its advertisers to
take advantage of viewers' use of social media.
Because viewers use social media predominantly for function
information, "it's a great place for our advertisers to be, as they can easily
integrate into experiences we provide and into experiences viewers value most,
such as exclusive video, games and show schedules," Viacom said.
Also, when viewers are simultaneously watching Viacom shows
and using social media, this usage is often related to the show, the company
said. "We think this affirms that there is a great opportunity for
global study involved social media diaries in the U.S., as well as online
communities in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. International online surveys were conducted
in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Brazil and Russia with more than 5,000 Viacom
viewers ages 13-49 who use two or more social media platforms on at least a
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.