New Research: Facebook and Twitter Have Minimal Impact on a TV show's Live Audience

New Research:  Facebook and Twitter Have Minimal Impact on a TV show's Live Audience

Much has been made of the potential influence of social media-especially Facebook and Twitter-on TV show viewership and ratings. However, in spite of widespread use (and near ubiquity among 18-34 year olds), social media doesn't show up as a top driver of TV show discovery and engagement.

Some key findings from "Figuring out Fans", a new study from HUB Entertainment Research on the role of social media when it comes to consumers' TV decisions:

  • Social media ranks far behind other sources when it comes to show discovery. Only 24% say that in the past 6 months, they've discovered a show through something they saw on Facebook or Twitter-vs. 58% who found a new show through advertising, 41% via word of mouth, and 34% through old-fashioned channel surfing.
  • Most say social media plays little or no role when it comes to finding new shows to watch. On a scale of 0-10, 62% give low ratings (0-5) to social media's role in discovery. And 27% ranked it at zero - saying it plays no role whatsoever.
  • Facebook and Twitter are used much more often to listen than to advocate. 75% of Facebook users and 65% of Twitter users say they read much more often than post. In fact, 53% of Twitter users say they've tweeted no more than once or twice during the ENTIRE TIME they've had an account.
  • Facebook and Twitter have a negligible impact on a show's overall linear audience. Among consumers who do NOT engage at all with Facebook or Twitter about their favorite show, 24% say they watch every episode of that show live. Those who do engage with their favorite shows through Facebook or Twitter are more likely to watch live-but there are so few of them that the impact on overall live viewing is negligible (just a 3-point bump, to 27%).

The research also uncovered key differences between Facebook and Twitter as tools for TV marketers: