NEW YORK—Nineteen percent of online Americans ages 15-54 say they are
reached by social media at least once a day regarding primetime TV, according
to a Council for Research Excellence study. For example, someone who saw
something or posted something about a primetime TV show on Facebook or Twitter
would fall within this category.
Sixteen percent of primetime TV viewing occasions involve some interaction with
social media. During nearly half of these occasions (7.3 percent of primetime
TV viewing instances), the viewer is engaging with social media specifically
about the show being viewed. These viewing occasions constitute the
study’s definition of “socially connected
viewing”—occasions when people engage in social media
about a TV show while watching that show.
Socially connected TV viewing is most evident with new TV shows, which indexed
at 142, and sports programming, which indexed at 129.
On 11.4 percent of primetime TV viewing occasions, viewers are using Facebook;
on 3.3 percent of viewing occasions, they’re using Twitter. On 3.8
percent of primetime viewing occasions, viewers are using Facebook regarding
the show they are watching – making them socially connected viewers.
This compares to 1.8 percent for Twitter. Therefore, Facebook’s
socially connected viewing occasions were 33 percent of its total TV viewing
occasions (3.8 percent/11.4 percent) while Twitter’s were 55 percent
(1.8 percent/3.3 percent).
These are among additional findings from the CRE’s recently completed
study, “Talking Social TV 2,” a follow-up to the
CRE’s 2012-2013 “Talking Social TV” study.
Selected findings from “Talking Social TV 2” were presented
on March 24, 2014 at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think
The study was conducted for the CRE by a team from Keller Fay Group with field
work conducted by Nielsen. The findings were gleaned from more than 78,000
mobile-app diary entries submitted by nearly 1,700 study participants
representative of the online population ages 15-54, permitting case studies on
some 1,600 shows. Fieldwork for the study was conducted from Sept. 16 to
Oct. 6, 2013, dates selected to coincide with the launch of the fall TV
“A key question we sought to address is how social media usage
relates to new viewing platforms and behaviors -- for example tablet usage or
binge viewing," said Beth Rockwood, senior vice president of market
resources for of Discovery Communications, who chairs the CRE’s Social
Media Committee. “The majority of viewing remains live and on
traditional TV sets, but we do see that social media use has a stronger
relationship with the newer platforms and behaviors. This is evidence that
social media is an important part of the new ways that people are consuming
Socially connected viewing is led by viewing via a channel app or website (152
index to total) and on-demand TV (137 index).
Social media influence is closely linked to viewing on non-traditional screens.
Tablets and phones index at 287 percent and 241 percent, respectively, among
all screens watched by those influenced by social media.
Socially connected viewing is closely linked to “binge
viewing.” Viewing multiple episodes indexed at 146, compared to 104
for current episodes.
The Super Connectors—those most engaged with social media in
relation to their TV viewing—represented 22 percent of participants
and are distinguished by their daily use of social media to follow TV shows, or
actors and personalities, or to communicate about TV characters. A newer
category, sports super connectors, represented 17 percent of study
participants. TV super connectors and sports super connectors each are twice as
likely to be socially connected on Facebook and on Twitter than the
TV super connectors skew 62 percent female, sports super connectors skew 57
percent male, both are in their mid-30s (median age 34 for TV super connectors
and 35 for sports super connectors), and both are above-average in