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A recent UK survey conducted by YouGov and Diffusion has found that nearly 20 per cent of TV viewers in the UK are influenced by social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter in helping them decide on the shows that they want to watch.
The survey of 2,025 UK adults has highlighted that 17% of the public use social media as a way to discover new programmes. And In terms of influences for people to enter online discussions about a TV programme, the most significant cause is peer to peer recommendation rather than advertising – suggesting that brands need to be creative in initiating conversations with viewers.
This adds further weight to Channel 4’s decision to launch a new channel, called 4Seven, which will re-air shows that create the most buzz within social media over the past week.
Speaking at the FT Digital Media Conference on Friday, Channel 4 CEO David Abraham said that the broadcaster would take advantage of social media conversations that enhance the word of mouth discussion TV programmes have always generated.
As well as discovering new shows online, an additional 17% of those questioned for The Social TV Trends Report said that they would be most likely to talk online about a TV programme if they saw friends already talking about it online (as per the graph below). This trend rises to one in three (33%) amongst 18-24 year olds and one in four (24%) in 25-34 year olds.
Diffusion’s head of consumer Tom Malcolm said that these real-time, online discussions via social media mark the end of the 'water cooler' effect - and a fundamental change in the way people watch, share and interact with TV
Although a number of broadcasters have invested heavily in Facebook advertising to boost viewing figures, the new research highlights that most effective means of boosting viewing figures is discussion generation which is aided by strong community management and influencer engagement.
Advertising alone is no longer enough; the social television viewer is increasingly looking for third party endorsement and it’s vital that broadcasters get their audiences talking about their shows positively online.”