Select Page

tvguide-social-media-tv-impressions-feb-2012.jpgSocial media buzz appears to have an effect on the TV viewing habits of some US adults, according to a TV Guide survey released in February 2012. 71% of respondents said they have seen a social media impression about a TV show, while 17% have begun to watch a show because of a social impression. Of those, the most popular reasons for beginning to watch the show were because people had good things to say (76%), the topics or storylines were interesting (64%), they like to watch what others watch (13%), and because it sounded controversial (8%).

According to a report released in December 2011 by Knowledge Networks, just 5% of social media users aged 13-54 say that social media is very important to them in deciding whether to watch a new TV program, although an additional 24% say that is it somewhat important.

Data from the TV Guide survey indicates that if not because of social impressions, the most widespread reasons for beginning to watch a TV show are due to ads (80%), word of mouth (46%), and from stumbling upon it by accident (16%), with roughly one-quarter citing other reasons.

Social Impressions Fuel Loyalty, Too

Meanwhile, 31% of respondents have continued to watch a TV show because of a social impression about the show. Among those respondents, the most popular ways in which social impressions influenced them were through helping keep up their interest in the show (77%) and because of topics or storylines that interested them (66%). Roughly one-third were influenced to stay engaged because of controversial moments (34%), and about one-quarter because everyone else was watching the show.

Friends and Family Not So Important, Though

When social impressions are not a driver of TV show loyalty, the main reasons respondents stick with a show is due to great storylines (88%), being deeply invested (81%), and great acting (72%). Although social media buzz appears to be a significant influence for keeping with a show, only about 1 in 10 respondents said that in the absence of social media impressions, family and friends still watching the show was a reason for them to do the same.

Social Spoilers Also a Factor

Social media also appears to have an effect on live TV viewing: 27% of respondents said they watch more live TV because they are concerned about plot and reality spoilers that could be revealed in real time on social networks. This represents a 35% rise from 20% of respondents in 2010 who responded that way. These figures may be correlated to the proportion of adults who actually visit social media sites during primetime: according to the Knowledge Network survey results (see link above), only 19% of respondents said they used social media while watching primetime TV most or every evening.

About the Data: The TV Guide results are based on a survey of 3,041 respondents in February 2012.

Feel Like You're Always Playing Catchup?

Stay ahead of the curve with our free newsletter. It’s fast. It’s factual. And it’s clear

marketing charts logo

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match