VAB: TV Shows Drive Twitter Trending Topics

In the never-ending search for stats that show TV is still relevant as an ad medium in an age with digital and social media, a new study by the Video Advertising Bureau shows that during primetime 87% of the trending topics on Twitter were driven by TV.

The VAB study, dubbed #TVisSocial, found that during the four weeks from Oct. 10 to Nov. 6, 47 ad-supported TV-related topics trended up to the #1 spots on Twitter.

“TV is a real-time, shared experience for most viewers,” said Danielle DeLauro, senior VP-strategic sales insights at the VAB. “With most viewers watching live, and lighting up Twitter with comments on programs as they’re happening, there’s a collective attention that is unmatched among media options.  Even in the home stretch of a contentious election that called unprecedented attention to social media, TV content dominated the online conversations.”

Most advertisers are actively courting millennials, and millennials account for 58% of the time spent on Twitter.

The TV-related topics that wound up trending in the top 10 came from a broad base: they resulted from content seen on more than 47 different networks.

TV trended near the top every night of the week. A least one entertainment show trended almost every night, and during the election, news frequently trended. Nine different topics trended during the night of the third presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Sports accounted for 68% of the ad-supported TV topic trending. Entertainment accounted for 25% and news resulted in 6%.

At any point in primetime nearly eight of the top 10 trending topics were based on ad-supported TV programming.

Because the bulk of ad-supported TV is watched live, it performed well on social media. Programs on ad-supported TV trended 53 times. Premium channels trended three times and PPV, PBS and Twitch each trended once. No SVOD original series or YouTube channel had a trending topic.

“Primetime TV dominates the social conversation and nothing else comes anywhere near the volume or impact,” said Jason Wiese, VP of strategic insights at the VAB. “Impressively, much of this real-time activity is being driven by Millennials whose love of TV content fuels continual conversations every night of every week.”

The VAB analyzed trending topics on Twitter every night for four weeks. It monitored four 15-minute time periods at a quarter past 8, 9:15, 10:15 and 11:15.

The VAB is a trade group for broadcast and cable networks and for cable, satellite and telco distributors.

The full report can be downloaded here.

Jon Lafayette

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.