SYDNEY: Over the past 12 months, Australians have become three times more likely than before to have their television viewing patterns shaped by social media, a new survey has claimed.

The Yahoo!7 Social TV Survey polled 7,741 consumers and found the number of participants who watched a TV show because of a friend's recommendation on social media leapt from 16% in 2011 to 42% in 2012.

Furthermore, just 12% of those surveyed in 2011 had been made aware of a show through Facebook or Twitter but that figure increased to 38% last year.

"Last year's survey found that Australians have a genuine appetite for the idea of social TV and connecting with like-minded fans around the shows they love," said Kristin Carlos, head of TV at Yahoo!7.

"This year, the survey results highlighted social media's increasing influence on how Australians discover new TV shows," she added.

In addition, dual-screening is becoming increasingly common, as the study found 43% of people now use social media while watching TV.

The programmes they are most likely to talk about are reality TV shows. The highest ranking went to talent show The X-Factor on Seven: 39% of respondents posted about it on social media.

And they will probably be doing so while the show is airing. Appointment-based TV remains the viewing option of choice, with 72% preferring to watch shows 'live' rather than catching up with them later.

That picture could change again, however, as the tablet becomes a more popular device for viewing TV programmes. The proportion of respondents watching TV on this device doubled to 10% in 2012.

Data sourced from Seven West Media; additional content by Warc staff