Last fall, I highlighted a study from Knowledge Networks about the power of social media to build audiences for new TV programs. The bottom line findings from the report found that only 10% of consumers said social media was a ‘very important’ influence on what they watched. But new research shows that as social media becomes more widespread, it can influence viewers.

About 71% of consumers report seeing social impressions for TV shows. These impressions are occurring in a wide range of formats such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Meetup. About 17% of survey respondents said they are watching a show because of information they initially found through the social media channel. Another 31% have been convinced to continue watching a program because of social media. For those who began watching a new show, the social media influence occurred because:

  • People had good things to say 65%
  • Interesting storyline or topic 64%
  • Wanted to watch what others are watching 13%
  • Sounded controversial 8%

For consumers who were already watching a specific show, social media helped keep up interest in the program for 77% of those surveyed. For consumers who do not keep up with social media, a great story line is the most compelling reason to continue following the show for 88% of those surveyed.

In a strange twist on technology, about 27% of consumers say they are watching more live TV these days, especially when it comes to their favorite shows. It turns out the people don’t want the latest plot twists spoiled for them via a friend’s social media post. This new pattern should be encouraging to marketers who fret about the number of consumers who are time-shifting their TV viewing and speeding through commercials.

[Source: Tanner, Christy. TVNext Conference. TVGuide.com. 27 Feb. 2012. Web. 16 Mar. 2012]