NEW YORK: Social media is playing an increasingly important role in shaping the TV viewing habits of young consumers in the US, a survey has discovered.

Horowitz Associates, the insights provider, polled 1,000 internet users, and revealed that 16% had discovered a TV show they now watched as a result of a post on social media or similar properties.

This figure rose to 24% for 18–34 year olds and 30% among their counterparts in the 15–17 year old group, suggesting the channel could become integral for broadcasters in the future.

A further 11% of interviewees "often" interacted with other people about the programmes they were currently viewing via social networks, forums and equivalent such platforms.

Once again, uptake was higher for 15–17 year olds, on 22%, while 18–34 year olds also outperformed the average on 17%.

Moreover, a 10% proportion of the panel regarded this pastime as a source of enjoyment, also increasing substantially for more youthful demographics.

"Harnessing the power of social media and social interactivity with TV is essential in order to keep younger viewers engaged with the live TV experience," Adriana Waterston, vice president, marketing and business development at Horowitz Associates, said.

"It's not as easy as it sounds, because social media is inherently organic, about personal empowerment and community-building.

"In the social media environment, consumers do not want to feel 'marketed to' or manipulated.  A successful social media or interactive strategy must feel genuine, not fabricated."

The study also broke out data for the 756 social media users in the sample, 14% of which stated that sites like Facebook and Twitter helped them remember to tune in to shows they wanted to watch.

Scores on this metric reached 28% for 15–17 year olds and 19% for 18–34 year olds.

An additional 12% of this group agreed the chance to connect with other fans of these programmes through such online services enhanced their enjoyment of broadcast content.

Data sourced from Horowitz Associates; additional content by Warc staff