Three key types of motivations — functional, communal and playful — are leading fans to engage in TV-related social media activities according to research from Viacom and its Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) division.
The "When Networks Network: TV Gets Social" research sampled more than 5,000 Viacom viewers in the US, UK, Germany, Brazil and Russia aged 13-49 who use two or more social media platforms on at least a weekly basis.
Stand-out findings included viewers engaging in an average of ten TV-related activities on social media platforms on a weekly basis, including: interacting with friends and fans (72%); following/liking a TV show (57%); sharing or recommending (61%); watching full clips and trailers (61%); searching for info and show schedules (66%); and gaming or signing up for freebies (49%).
Out of 24 social media activities tracked, three distinct types of motivations for TV-related social media use emerged: functional, that is searching for show schedules, news, exclusives; communal, meaning personal branding, connecting with others; and playful gaming, entering contests.
Function is by far the strongest motivating factors, including socialising, when it comes to TV-related social media use. Viewers were found to be more interested in the experiences and content offered by networks and TV shows than communicating with others on social media. Fans use social media sites to stay informed about air dates and times (44%); keep up with the latest show news (45%); access exclusive show info (37%), video (36%) and plot clues (36%).
Viewers 13-17 were found to be most likely to use social media to search for show schedules and exclusive videos, while those between the ages of 18-24 are most likely to search for the latest show news and to access spoilers.
Social media ranked third (39%) as a source of show discovery, behind promos (54%) and word of mouth (50%). The research also revealed that social media-fuelled show discovery uniquely and positively impacts live tune-in, with viewers significantly more likely to watch a show premiere on live TV when that show is discovered via social media.
"We found it intriguing that TV-related social media behaviours and motivating factors were consistent across all five countries that we looked at in this study," commented Christian Kurz, vice president of research, insights and reporting for VIMN. "Globally, social media is becoming today's version of a TV guide for viewers — it is really how they prefer to get their information about the shows they watch."