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How social media users multitask while watching TV

A new survey by the Hollywood Reporter — which talked to social network users between the ages of 13-49 — reveals some interesting data about how social media impacts the TV and film industries. More than half of the respondents said social networks are important tastemakers in determining what to watch and buy. The most interesting part of the study, as it relates to TV, is boiled down to this slide:

That Facebook number is a bit surprising — 79% say they always or sometimes visit Facebook while watching TV — although it’s unclear how much of that activity relates to the TV they’re watching at that given moment. For Twitter, the study asked if they’re tweeting about the show they’re watching, and 41% said yes. And three-quarters of respondents say they’re posting about TV while watching a live show, which shouldn’t be that big of a shock — a study by TVGuide found that 27% say they watch more live TV to avoid spoilers via social media.

The study asked which types of shows people like to post about while watching TV, and comedy (56%) and reality TV (46%) came out on top, followed by sports (38%) and cable news (26%).

Here’s my favorite stat of the study: 8.5 percent of respondents have decided not to watch Jersey Shore because of something they saw on social networking. Which goes to show, not all social promotion is good promotion. Meanwhile, 3 out of 10 people decided to watch a TV show because of something they read or saw on a social networking site. (TVGuide’s study, which didn’t limit respondents to social media users, found that 17% said they started watching a TV show because of a social impression.)

Here’s a link to the full study, which also includes details around how movie-goers use social media, both in the theater and at home.

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