September 22, 2014

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Today, watching TV consists of more than just snacking on a bowl of popcorn. With a cell phone, tablet or laptop in-hand (or lap!), viewers can browse trending hashtags, check out an actor’s handle and send real-time comments about the content they are viewing. According to Nielsen, now more than 80 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices while watching television. This, my friends, is social TV.

Research shows that viewers are more likely to be aware of a particular program due to the social activity around it.1 For example, the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards produced more than 12.6 million tweets, garnering a unique audience of 10.9 million people.2 Another example was the 2014 Emmy Awards, when 8.8 million people saw one or more of the 1.1 million tweets sent during the program.3 Viewers that may not have originally tuned in, may have seen a trending hashtag or a comment made by their friends and tuned in to catch the action.

Another great example, is the NFL which is the leader in the primetime schedule. Fans, who may be tracking their fantasy teams or commenting on their friend’s poor picks, are interacting with the games, watching and using social simultaneously. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 2014 season premiere game between the Green Bay Packers and Super Bowl champs, the Seattle Seahawks, garnered close to 950,000 tweets, which were seen by more than 8 million fans.4 TV has gone from simple viewing, to multi-screen and multi-channel interactions.

The commonality of the sited television programs are that they all are live events, which continue to be the area that both receives the highest amount of social engagement as well as are the most DVR-proof programs. For the week ending 9/14/14, the top ten broadcasts with the highest amount of unique Twitter audiences were all sports, all but one (FIBA World Cup) were NFL games! The next popular was another live event, but a different kind, the 2015 Miss America Pageant with a Twitter audience of 4.3 million unique impressions. After 12 live events, was a scripted program, Sons of Anarchy, with 2.7 million uniques. The real time nature of these live events, translates effortlessly to the connection with social and the power of buzz!5

  1. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/232043/social-tv-earned-media-channels-and-millennials.html 

  2. http://www.nielsensocial.com/nielsentwittertvratings/weekly/#SeriesSpecials 

  3. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/232791/for-emmys-social-tv-is-growing-up.html 

  4. http://blogs.wsj.com/cmo/2014/09/08/the-nfl-blows-away-all-other-tv-shows-on-twitter/ 

  5. Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings (9/8/14-9/14/14) Sports, Series and Specials