LONDON: Social media is responsible for more than one third of UK television viewers actively planning their evenings around the TV schedule, according to new research.

Carat, the media planning business, analysed data from CCS, its internal research tool that surveys 11,000 UK consumers, to find that 35% of respondents preferred to watch certain shows while they were airing rather than make use of video on demand services to watch them at a time of their own choosing.

This trend, said Carat, was being fuelled by social media use and the viewers' enjoyment of discussing the latest appointment-to-view TV shows in real time and not in the week afterwards.

CCS data showed that 57% of people were second screening in some way while watching linear TV, and that during a show 33% were commenting on Facebook or Twitter about what they were watching, typically a drama, a reality show or a sporting event.

The findings also revealed that social media has affected how people choose what to watch, with around one fifth of respondents reporting that friends and family have had a big influence on their TV viewing, up from just 5% in 2010.

Steven Ballinger, Head of Media Investment – Amplifi @ Carat, described the shift as one from TV on demand to "TV on command", as people reinvented the water cooler moment in real time.

"Being part of the conversation during the latest battle in Game of Thrones or a terrible audition in Britain's Got Talent with friends and strangers hugely enhances the experience for the consumer," he said.

And that created new opportunities for advertisers, turning their efforts "from a monologue to a dialogue". Ballinger argued that second screen apps, such as AdSync or Shazam, enabled the user to access more content and create more dwell time, while simultaneously driving the consumer closer to the point of purchase – "something advertisers have been trying for a while with more traditional TV advertising methods," he observed.

His colleague Lucy Moore, associate director at Carat, added that it was vital to "ensure the consumer is always at the heart of the eco-systems we create". Spotting a change in how people watched TV meant that "advertisers can now use convergence to target them in more innovative ways".

Data sourced from Carat; additional content by Warc staff