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knowledge-network-social-media-impact-on-tv-viewing-dec11.gifJust 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, according to a report released in December 2011 by Knowledge Networks. Data from “Social Media and Program Choice” indicates that Gen Y adults are the most likely to be influenced by social media, as more than one-third report the channel to be either somewhat (30%) or very (5%) important in their TV viewing decisions. Overall, the average respondent had their viewing influenced by social media for just 4% of the new Fall programs they were aware of.

Opinions of Friends and Reviewers Are Most Influential

Of the respondents that indicated a greater interest in new Fall programming as a result of social media, the leading content type to drive interest in a program is positive comments from friends they know offline as well as online (57%). Positive comments from reviewers (44%) and positive comments from friends respondents only know online (29%) are the two other leading categories, ahead of a show’s interesting Facebook page/interaction (25%) and the number of likes or followers the show has on Facebook or Twitter (23%).

The leading social media content types that make respondents less interested in a program are negative comments from reviewers (42%), negative comments from friends respondents know offline as well as online (38%), and negative comments from friends respondents only know online (30%), ahead of a show’s boring/inactive Facebook page (26%) or Twitter feed (13%).

1 in 3 Ever Interact With TV

knowledge-networks-sm-tv.jpgMeanwhile, 34% of the respondents ever “Friend,” “Like,” or “Follow” a TV program or network, while 36% sometimes or regularly read about a TV program or network on a social media site and 26% post or comment about a TV program or network. According to the report, those who “Friend,” “Follow,” or “Like” TV networks or programs are more likely to be younger, women, and heavier social media users. The leading reason for interacting with a TV program or network is to stay up to date (48%), closely followed by showing support for the show (45%).

Usage for Media Decisions Increases

Social media use as a resource for media decisions has risen across the board since 2009, although regular use remains at low levels, according to the report. This year, 9% of respondents report regularly using social media sites or features for information, reviews, or recommendations about TV programs, up from 5% in 2009. A further 36% say they sometimes use social media sites or features for those purposes, up from 27% in 2009.

Primetime TV Viewers Go Online, But For Unrelated Purposes

35% of all respondents report going online while watching primetime TV most or every evening, with Gen Y adults (38%) leading the way. Just 7% overall say they never go online while watching TV in the evenings, although Gen Y adults (9%) also lead in this category.

However, TV viewers’ online forays appear to be unrelated to the programs they are watching: just 3% say they regularly visit the website of a program they are watching on TV, while a further 21% say they sometimes do so.

Social media usage during primetime viewing appears to be even less popular: only 19% of respondents use social media while watching primetime TV most or every evening, led again by Gen Y adults (24%). By contrast, almost 4 in 10 Gen X adults report never using social media while watching TV in the evening.

According to a February 2011 study by Deloitte, 42% of US TV viewers go online while watching TV, while 29% talk on cellphones or mobile devices and 26% send instant messages or text messages.

About the Data: The Knowledge Networks results are based on a survey of 1,015 qualified respondents aged 13-54 who reported any video consumption in a typical week. The survey was conducted September 27 – October 3, 2011 via a 20-minute survey.

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