Social TV engages US consumers

14 October 2013
NEW YORK: A majority of American users of social media, tablet devices and smartphones have used social networks while watching TV, new analysis from eMarketer has found, while up to 17% socialise in real-time about TV shows they're watching.

The "Social TV: Marketing to Viewers in Real Time" report analysed findings from several organisations that conducted research in 2013 and concluded that the growth of simultaneous social media usage meant the concept of TV being the 'first screen' is now over.

Instead, eMarketer argues that the 'first screen' should be regarded as whichever consumers are watching at the time.

It noted that research into the TV viewing habits of smartphone and tablet users aged 18 to 34, conducted by Nielsen in June 2013, found 52% and 53% respectively also visited social networks at the same time.

Separate research of social media users from CreditDonkey in March 2013 found 83.7% also used Facebook while watching TV while 66.9% simultaneously used Twitter.

Furthermore, the multiple surveys indicated that about 15% to 17% of TV viewers discussed, posted or read comments about the programmes they were watching in real time.

For example, research from the NPD Group in April 2013 found 14.8% of TV viewers discussed the programme on social networks.

Recognising that consumers are increasingly interacting with their devices and talking about what they're doing while watching TV, Eric Gruen, a regional digital brand manager at Procter & Gamble, said marketers needed to become part of that conversation and to go beyond traditional TV ads.

"It's up to the brands to be authentic," he said, adding they needed to take part in a way that added value to consumers and with what they're doing.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff
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