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The relationship between television and social media could become increasingly competitive, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm, in a report published in conjunction with YouGov on behalf of the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Festival, taking place on 27-29 August.
Howard Davies media partner at Deloitte noted:
“The phenomenal pace at which social media and social networks have become entrenched within our everyday lives raises the question of their possible long-term impacts on television. The current relationship can be characterised as predominantly complementary, but limited in reach. The future relationship may be more adversarial, with advertising the battleground.
And the report suggests that the younger age groups reveal where there may be the greatest synergy
between social networks and media - or essentially that this is the playground of Generation Y.
“While social networks and media do support each other, the synergy varies by genre and age. Programmes aimed at younger age groups tend to experience the greatest symbiosis: a few programmes and commercials become greater successes or are plucked from obscurity thanks to online peer recommendation.
“Among UK viewers it is still the exception rather than the rule to comment on a programme currently being watched on the web. However among 18-24 year olds the practice is more widespread and it is now becoming standard for programmes targeted at this age group to incorporate a social media and social network element. However while two fifths of this age group comments, of those who comment, almost all do this only “occasionally”.
“Membership of online fan groups is similarly niche, even though over 40 percent of the UK has now signed up to Facebook. Only 7 percent of those polled have become fans of their favourite programmes but among 18-24 year olds penetration is an impressive 46 percent.
Social Networks operate more as a recommendation engine than anything, with suggestions for 'what to watch' is the driving force.
“More typically social networks and media have served, organically and deliberately, to raise awareness of and to main interest in programmes. The key ingredient television offers to social media and networks is content to recommend, talk about and watch.
“If social chatter is sufficiently voluminous this catalyses a snowball effect as traditional and new media pick up on the story. This typically raises the value of content – a programme with strong social currency is generally of greater appeal to advertisers as it means their brand becomes associated with content that is both watched and talked about. But the majority of programmes with the highest ratings and adverts with the greatest recall have succeeded despite not having also been social media/ network sensations
“While the current relationship between television and social media/networks is largely symbiotic, in the medium-term it has the potential to turn combative, with competition for audience time and advertising budgets steadily intensifying.
“As the reach, usage and value of social media and networks steadily rise, this could cause advertising budgets to get diverted from television. Over time, Web 2.0’s reach is increasingly looking like it may emulate that of television. Combine this with online’s precise targeting and real-time measurability, and advertising rates for social networks and media could increase, as they prove their efficacy and migrate to a cost per action model - which television would struggle to replicate.
“The twin genies of social media and social networks will not be popped back into their bottle. And this means that television needs to adapt to Web 2.0’s existence, exploiting its opportunities as much as it prepares against the threats.”