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Why do TV fans use social media most? To save shows, survey says

April 3, 2012 |  5:19 pm


TV executives and creatives are constantly searching for ways to better engage audiences through social media -- the current advertising and marketing buzz phrase. But according to the results of a new survey conducted by and the Social TV Summit, the best way to get people socially engaged online about a show is to threaten cancellation.

The results show that 76% of TV fans surveyed in March said their main reason for participating in social TV activity was to "keep my favorites on the air."

The definition of "social TV activity" included posting status updates and making comments on message boards or forums. The number of people who said saving their shows was their primary reason for posting jumped 10 percentage points, up from 66%, last year.

In recent years, the power of social media is seen in the decisions of TV executives scrambling to find better ways to connect to the audience. The most recent example would be NBC's "Community," which went on an unexpected hiatus for three months earlier this year, causing fans to worry that the acclaimed but low-rated show was about to get the boot.

After three months of social media drumbeating, along with a dedicated fan base encouraging everyone to watch the show, when the series returned on March 15, the new episode boasted the highest ratings of the season.

Other findings from the survey show that of fans who do participate in social activity surrounding their favorite shows, 95% did so after the episode had aired, 53% did so before the show and 40% did so during the show (this was up from 33% last year).

Additionally, 62% of those surveyed said they planned to participate in social activity during the Super Bowl, while 58% actually followed through. 57% planned to participate during the Grammys and the Oscars, but a whopping 80% actually did it.

But TV fans shouldn't fret: The Super Bowl, Grammys and Oscars are in no danger of cancellation.


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-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: The cast of NBC's "Community." Credit: Jordin Althaus / NBC