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Social media breeding awareness of TV shows: Nielsen

MUMBAI: With tablets, smartphones and laptops at their side, TV viewers can follow their favourite shows, share content and connect with fellow fans before, during and after a program. As a result, the social TV phenomenon is not only affecting the consumer TV experience and program development but also proving to be a valuable opportunity for advertisers to tap into and leverage the momentum of social conversations.

According to a study by media research company Nielsen, a quarter of TV viewers reported that they were more aware of TV programs due to their social media interactions in a year-over-year comparison from 2012 to 2013. In fact, in 2013, 15 per cent of viewers said they enjoyed watching television more when social media was involved. And when it comes to viewing content, 11 per cent of viewers said they watched more live TV while 12 per cent said they recorded more programmes in 2013 alone.

In addition, data from Nielsen’s first-quarter 2014 Cross Platform Report shows that the average adult aged 18 and over now watches 5 hours and 10 minutes of live TV and 34 minutes of time-shifted TV per day.

When looking at the effect of social media on ethnic TV viewers, a greater percentage of African-Americans, Asians, and Hispanics report watching more live TV, being aware of more programmes, recording programs, and enjoying television more as a result of social media.

In fact, social media has the greatest effect on Hispanic TV viewers who show the highest programme awareness (32 per cent), television enjoyment (26 per cent) and live TV watching (18 per cent) of all ethnic groups. African-Americans are the ethnic group most likely to sample new shows online at 14 per cent, and Asian Americans, who are also the fastest adopters of new technology, record more programs than any other ethnic group.

In addition to social media, consumers are also using the second screen to engage in other digital activities while watching television content. Among Americans aged 13 years and older who own a smartphone or tablet, over two-thirds of tablet users and about half of smartphone users said surfing the web was the number one activity they choose to do while watching their favourite programs. In addition, over 40 per cent of tablet owners said shopping or looking up actors, plots and athletes were the top activities they did while watching TV. In terms of smartphone owners, 29 per cent said they emailed or texted friends about a program, and 27 per cent said they checked sports scores.

Audiences aren’t just surfing through channels when the TV is on anymore; they are riding the waves of second screens, continually learning how to incorporate new interests into their style. And as social media’s effect continues to resonate with viewers, advertisers should find opportunities to join the conversations and activities that viewers are engaging with while watching TV.