Social Media’s Impact on TV on the Rise

August 5, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

African-American | Asian-American | Digital | Hispanic | Social Media | Social TV & Multi-Screening

Nielsen-Social-Impact-on-TV-Aug2014Social media’s impact on TV is gradually growing, details Nielsen in newly-released survey data showing social to be driving increased TV program awareness and live TV viewing. Indeed, one-quarter of respondents to Nielsen’s Q4 2013 survey claimed to be aware of more programs as a result of social media, up from 18% during the year-earlier period. Moreover, 11% reported that social media caused them to watch more live TV, up from 8% during the Q4 2012 survey. The results are consistent with other research on social’s impact.

For example, Digitalsmiths’ Q1 2014 Video Discovery Trends Report [download page] found 29% of adult respondents in the US and Canada saying they have chosen to watch a TV show or movie based on the social buzz it was receiving. That was up from 19% during the year-earlier period.

[For more research about trends shaping the TV industry – such as social TV – see social trailed various other identified reasons for watching TV shows, although it appeared to have more of an influence than personal recommendations (face-to-face or over the phone). A follow-up report from the CRE on social’s impact found a slightly greater proportion of participants deciding to watch new (6.8%) or returning (3.3%) shows based on having seen something about the show on social media, though social’s influence remained limited.

Meanwhile, the Nielsen data indicates that social’s impact is higher among minority groups. Looking at the various impacts of social on TV viewing, the results indicate that:

  • Some 32% of Hispanics are aware of more programs due to social, versus 25% of respondents on average;
  • Slightly more than one-quarter – 26% – of Hispanics enjoy TV more as a result of social, compared to 15% of respondents overall;
  • 1 in 5 Asian Americans record more programs because of social media, almost double the overall figure of 12%;
  • Some 18% of Hispanics say they watch more live TV due to social, versus 11% of respondents overall; and
  • African-Americans are almost twice as likely as the average respondent (14% vs. 8%) to sample shows online because of social.

Social’s outsized impact on Hispanics tallies with CRE research finding Hispanics to be the most likely group to be engaging in social TV, defined as simultaneous social activity directly related to the specific program they were viewing.

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