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Digitalsmiths-Social-Growing-Impact-on-TV-Dec2013There’s a growing body of research analyzing social’s influence on TV viewing behavior, with the general consensus being that social’s impact is small, but growing. A new study [download page] from Digitalsmiths supports that general trend, finding that more viewers are not only posting about their viewing habits on social networks, but also choosing to watch particular programs on account of the buzz they’re getting on social networks.

Specifically, during Q3, 15.4% of adult respondents in the US and Canada claimed to post about what they’re watching, up from 12.8% in Q2 and 11.5% in Q1. Those are still fairly small figures, to be sure, but they’re on the rise. While the Digitalsmiths survey doesn’t break the responses down into age brackets, a recent study from Horowitz Associates demonstrates that – as one might expect – this behavior is far more prevalent among younger age groups.

Social’s influence on program choices appears to be more extensive. During Q3, 30.8% of Digitalsmiths survey respondents said they had at some point chosen to watch a TV show or movie because of all the buzz it was getting on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. That represents a significant uptick from 22.2% of respondents in Q2 and 18.6% in Q1. Nielsen has measured this phenomenon on Twitter, finding that tweets influenced ratings in 29% of TV episodes sampled. That’s led Nielsen to begin tracking the top TV programs on Twitter (charted weekly on MarketingCharts.com); as an example, during the week of November 25-December 1, almost 6 million Twitter accounts accrued at least a single impression of one or more tweets related to that week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.”

How should pay-TV providers leverage social activity around the content they’re providing? Digitalsmiths recommends that they “consider leveraging their own subscriber data to complement the data delivered by social media sources. Blending data results from platforms like Twitter with recommendation choices from a video discovery solution can provide the best of both worlds.” In other words, look for more Netflix-style personalization.

About the Data: The Digitalsmiths Q3 data is based on a survey of almost 3,200 adults across the US and Canada.

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