Social Networks Positively Impact Entertainment Decisions

thr-socnets-entertainment-impact-march2012.jpgSocial network users are 27.3% more likely to say that the sites are important for making entertainment-related decisions than not (56% vs. 44%), according to The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and Penn Schoen Berland, in March 2012 survey results. And the influence of social networks appears to be overwhelmingly positive: 82% of users say they are more influenced by positive posts than by negative posts when it comes to music, while roughly three-quarters feel that way about TV shows, movies, and video games.

Twitter Members More Focused on Individuals

When examining the habits of social network members, the study finds an interesting divergence between those following individuals, and those following companies and programs. For example, Twitter users are more likely than Facebook users to follow actors and actresses (41% vs. 32%), sports figures (25% vs. 17%), reality TV stars (23% vs. 16%), and journalists and reporters (15% vs. 9%). By contrast, Facebook members are more likely to follow companies and brands (49% vs. 37%), sports teams (30% vs. 22%), TV shows (49% vs. 30%), and movies (43% vs. 25%).

TV Viewers Multitask

Roughly 4 in 5 respondents said they always or sometimes visit Facebook while watching TV, while 41% reported tweeting about the show they are watching. In fact, of those posting about TV shows, roughly three-quarters did so while watching programs live, and 51% said they post while watching to feel connected to others who might be watching. Indeed, according to [download page] survey results released in March 2012 by iModerate Research Technologies, 29% of respondents who engage in social TV do so primarily to advise their network of friends and let them know what is good and what is bad, while 23% do so to be connected with others who have similar TV likes and dislikes. The iModerate survey also found that the most common ways of engaging in social TV are through a Facebook status update (91%), a comment on a friend’s Facebook update (62%), a comment on a show’s Facebook page (41%), and a Twitter status update (38%).

Despite a higher proportion of social networkers saying they visit Facebook than Twitter while watching TV, March data from Trendrr.TV indicates that Twitter dominates social commentary about TV. Examining the share of social activity in February across four key sources (Twitter, Facebook, GetGlue, and Miso), Trendrr found that Twitter held 85% share of the social activity occurring around broadcast TV, at 85%, compared to 7% for Facebook, and 8% for GetGlue. Twitter was less influential on cable, although it remained the leader with 64% of activity, followed by Facebook (23%) and GetGlue (13%).

SocNets Also Influential for Movies

TV is not the only beneficiary of social network activity: 1 in 3 THR survey respondents said they have decided to see a movie in a theater because of something they read on a social networking site. 24% of the Facebook users surveyed said they had posted about a movie they were watching, while 21% of Twitter users had also done so. Social networking activity increases after watching the film, with 72% of respondents saying they had posted about a movie on a social networking site after watching it.

Other Findings:

  • 3 in 10 THR survey respondents said they have decided to watch a TV program because of something they read or saw on a social networking site. According to a TV Guide survey released in February 2012, 71% of adults have seen a social media impression about a TV show, while 17% have begun to watch a show because of a social impression.
  • THR survey respondents said that cable news (31%) is their primary source of breaking news, ahead of news websites (28%) and social networking sites (19%). Among social network users under 35, 21% said social networking sites are their primary source, a figure that drops to 9% among those over 35. Data from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism indicates that the proportion of digital device users (laptop/desktop, smartphone, or tablet) who turn to Facebook recommendations very often for news ranges from just 6-8%, and that is still far ahead of those who use Twitter recommendations (2-3%).
  • 70% of THR survey respondents said they have listened to an artist’s music primarily because of what a friend had posted on a social networking site.
  • According to the iModerate Research Technologies survey, 58% of respondents who post 10 times or more per week regarding TV say they watch more live TV since they started engaging in social TV. Those posting only once a week said their viewing is about the same. Similarly, the more time respondents spend using social media each day, the more often they tend to post on social TV.

About the Data: THR and Penn Schoen Berland results are based on a survey of 750 social network users aged 13 to 49. The iModerate Research Technologies data is based on a survey of 150 respondents who completed an online quantitative study. Respondents included both males and females aged 18+ who spent at least one hour per week watching television and typically comment or post about programming at least once a week.