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How Socializing Can Be a Boon to TV

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Social TV is a growing trend we’re excited about here at NewTeeVee. Watching events like President Obama’s inauguration unfold while interacting with friends in real time adds new depth to our video experience. But cracking wise with compatriots online could also be a boon for the TV industry. In an article for Mediaweek, Nielsen did some research during this year’s Oscars to show how people are using online social tools while watching television and found:

  • 11 percent of people who watched the Oscars did so while logged onto the Internet.
  • People who were Facebooking during the show used the social network for an average of 76 minutes, more than double the time spent on MySpace, and more than three times higher than other portals.
  • People Facebooking during the Oscars watched roughly 50 percent more of the show than the average Oscar viewer.
  • Nielsen estimates that more than 100,000 Twitter message were sent during the Oscars — roughly 7 messages per second.

Nielsen warns that the sample size was small, so these stats aren’t scientific conclusions, but they do provide nice directional trends.

The Oscars and the inauguration were both big events, so it’s easier to generate a lot of social activity around them, and social TV is perfect for events that are meant to be watched live, like the upcoming March Madness tournament, or even Liz’s favorite show Dancing with the Stars. But if studios and broadcasters can tap into affinity groups and networks of friends, socializing TV could be a way to get more people to tune in and beat back some commercial zapping on the DVR. As Nielsen points out, keeping up with friends can only really be done in real time, in order for the comment streams to make sense.

4 Responses to “How Socializing Can Be a Boon to TV”

  1. Chris makes several great points here about socializing TV, but I feel does get one thing wrong.

    At TVLoop, we have 200+ TV applications on Facebook, with 17+ million users. These users are actively engaged in socializing around TV, but always asynchronously. As people become used to the asynchronous nature of social networks, they don’t seem to find it odd to respond hours later to a post.

    We integrate TV watching into our applications, and most users post immediately after they view the show, whenever that may be. In fact, we experimented with a live chat system early on, but its extremely low usage caused us to pull it, at a time when usage of all other features of the applications was growing.

    James Huffman
    Community Manager