Study: Tumblr Tops Twitter's Social TV Activity

written by: Richard Kastelein

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tumblr logotype white blue 512The Wrap reports on a new study from social analytics company Pulsar on Tumblr's social TV impact that has some surprising results. Commissioned by Tumblr. Pulsar found that the social TV activity of Tumblr, the blogging platform owned by Yahoo! outperformed Twitter:

Like Twitter, TV-related conversations happen on Tumblr in real-time, but its engagement actually peaks (to the tune of a 31 percent increase) one hour after a show has aired, the study demonstrated.

The lifespan of chatter on Twitter chatter is typically shorter. Therefore, Tumblr believes that it has a window of advertising opportunity far longer than its competition.

Sima Sistani, Tumblr's director of Media, is trying to get just that message into the heads of TV execs: ”A lot of time is being spent on the other platforms out of a sense of reach and getting things to trend — we just want to open up the conversation and have those people start to think about Tumblr in the mix as well,” Sistani told TheWrap.

Lost Remote has some more details from the study:

  • The conversation around TV is larger and lasts longer on Tumblr than Twitter.
  • 70% of TV-related mentions pertaining to shows in study occured on Tumblr
  • Tumblr buzz rises in anticipation toward a show’s airtime and continues to increase in the hours and days thereafter.
  • Like Twitter, TV-related conversations are happening on Tumblr in real-time, but engagement on Tumblr peaks (31% increase) one hour after a show has aired. In contrast, Twitter exhibits a peak at airtime and declines immediately in the 1-2 hours after.
  • Engagement on Tumblr sustains at an increased level for days after the show has aired.
  • Advertising window is longer on Tumblr (i.e. Nielsen Live+3 Ratings)
  • On Tumblr, fans immerse themselves ina their show’s universe, create their own narratives, and advocate for the show.
  • 71% of Tumblr TV interactions are driven by behaviors related to storytelling, creativity and community.
  • Tumblr not about checkins, but expanding a 30-60 minute episode into a week-long conversation.
  • For all shows, the majority of posts are reblogs, driving huge distribution across the network.


More analysis from Adage:

Pulsar's study pulled Twitter and Tumblr data via Datasift and researched activity around four episodes of shows that ran in the fall and winter of 2013: "Sherlock," "Supernatural," "Pretty Little Liars" and "Sleepy Hollow." It also tracked mentions of "Malcolm in the Middle" over an 11-day period in December.

In aggregate, Pulsar found that 70% of social mentions of those shows happened on Tumblr over an 11-day period, with the balance happening on Twitter. While the Twitter mentions (including retweets) spiked when the four live shows actually aired, they tapered off quickly and had dwindled to 3% of the peak on-air level 12 hours later. For Tumblr, Pulsar detected a far more gradual decline of mentions (including re-blogs) with sustained momentum for days. Chatter levels held at 43% of what they had been during the broadcast 12 hours after the fact.

Twitter still eclipsed Tumblr in terms of unique authors -- 1.5 million compared to 1.4 million -- but not by much. The dynamics of a platform like Tumblr, overrun with visual memes and animated GIFs, help account for why so much content creation happens after a show has aired.

"[People aren't] coming just to check in," said Lee Brown, Tumblr's global head of brand partnerships. "They're coming to dive deeper into the characters, create their own storylines, put text over static images -- to create content with a much longer shelf life."

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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