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Rise of Social TV (Is there any other?)


Social media might be bringing in the most profound changes in the living room in the face of stalled innovation in television. Besides, the tube is more social than we imagine and, why wait at the water cooler the next morning when you can chat up the shows here and now!

Results of the second annual Yahoo!7 Social TV Survey are revealing of how Australians are watching television and, nearly half with one hand on the social media, so to speak.

“Last year’s survey found that Australians have a genuine appetite for the idea of Social TV and connecting with likeminded fans around the shows they love. This year, the survey results highlighted social media’s increasing influence on how Australians discover new TV shows,” said Kristin Carlos, Yahoo!7’s head of TV.

Here are some highlights of the survey of 7,741 Australians:

  • 43% of people surveyed use social media while watching TV
  • 42% of people surveyed watch a TV show because of a recommendation from a friend via social media (up 16% from 2011)
  • Reality TV remains the most “talked about” programmes on social media. The X-Factor on Seven topped the charts with 39% respondents posting about the TV show on social media.
  • “Appointment-based TV” remains the viewing option of choice, with 72% preferring to watch TV shows live.
  • Viewers using the tablet to watch TV programmes doubled to 10%.

The survey doesn’t say how much of the social TV is driven by Yahoo!7’s Fango social TV app. Fango, which claims 700,000 downloads, allows users to check-in to their favourite shows and chat about the shows in-app as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

But Ad News, in a recent article, offers a good perspective that doesn’t show apps from TV networks in great light.

“The majority of social TV engagements are still happening on external social networks such as Facebook and Twitter rather than on proprietary apps. According to research from MagnaGlobal, 17% of people use external networks to chat online with friends about TV shows they like versus 2% who do the same using an audience participation app.”

Another interesting point Ad News makes with regard to advertising dollars is about TV Ratings vs. Social Media Buzz. The two don’t always go together.

“Seven’s My Kitchen Rules may have been smashing its rivals in the ratings, but Nine’s The Block: All Stars has scored higher in the social stakes, according to MediaCom’s social engagement monitoring tool mBuzz, which pulls together data from Facebook, Twitter and Google,” it said.

The social TV battles may have only just begun.