1 in 6 TV Viewers Said to Share Content About Shows Online

May 7, 2015

ShareThis-Social-TV-Engagement-by-Show-Type-May2015Some 16% of TV viewers on average share content about the shows they’re watching online, with these viewers driving an impressive 11% of all online sharing, according to a report [download page] from ShareThis. The study finds that this sharing also leads to TV tune-in, as users who click on shared content about TV series show an above-average inclination to convert to viewers.

Social sharing about TV shows differs widely by genre, ranging from a low of 8.6% of viewers sharing content about crime shows to a high of 47.1% sharing about reality/variety shows. The timing of sharing also varies: while comedy, crime, music and reality/variety viewers are most likely to share during a show as opposed to before or after it, social buzz surrounding drama and sci-fi shows actually decreases during broadcast before spiking post-airing.

Of note, viewers of new series are about twice as likely to share content than viewers of recurring series (25.7% vs. 13.7%), as are viewers of streaming series (such as those released in bulk on Netflix) in comparison to broadcast series (31.2% vs. 15.1%).

The study also details some intuitive – and yet interesting – findings. While total sharing activity generally favors desktops by a significant margin during the 24 hours pre- and post-airing, mobiles become the prominent devices in the 3 hours before and after airing, with tablets dominating at broadcast time. This suggests that many TV multitasking behaviors are occurring on mobile devices. In fact, two years ago, a study found that 30-40% of TV ad viewing behavior was concurrent with mobile device usage. Given smartphones’ increasing penetration, one wonders what that figure would be today…

Meanwhile, the use of social networks follows a similar pattern. While Facebook generally captures the vast majority of social TV conversation during the 48-hour period before and after a show’s airing (with Facebook’s role in social TV sometimes forgotten), Twitter takes over at broadcast time and during the hour following, dominating the sharing activity during those hours.

Finally, the report notes that social buzz correlates with higher viewership and ratings, particularly for shows with smaller audiences. Nielsen has previously found that tweets influence ratings for some TV shows. Last year, a Nielsen survey found social media’s impact on TV to be growing, with social media leading to greater show awareness and live TV tune-in.

For more on the evolving TV market, see the MarketingCharts study: TV in Context: Viewing Trends, Ad Spending, and Purchase Influence.

About the Data: To arrive at its conclusions, the study coupled ShareThis’ first party social data (46 million users and 153 million TV social signals per month) with Nielsen 3rd party TV viewing data covering 4.9 million TV viewers on 19 audience segments to arrive at a database match of the online social profiles of offline TV audiences.

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