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Survey: Viewers get social to keep favorite TV shows on air

Updated: In a new TVGuide.com survey, just over three-quarters (76%) of TV viewers say their main motivation for engaging with social media is to prevent their favorite TV shows from being canceled — that’s up from 66% a year ago. “Fans believe they have power to influence this business,” said TVGuide.com GM Christy Tanner at the Social TV Summit. “People know that the networks and the showrunners and the producers are paying close attention to what’s happening on social media.” The second biggest motivation (61%) was to let their friends know what they’re watching on TV.

The survey also asked when viewers talk about their favorite shows on social media, and 95% say they engage after the show is over, 53% prior to the show and another 40% while it’s airing. Tanner said the year-over-year jump in the “after the show” numbers is “truly astounding.” But she said there was more social interaction via mobile devices during the Super Bowl and the Oscars compared to before and after the events.

TVGuide.com also asked, “Why did you use social on your mobile device?” and 69% said they want to see what others are saying and 33% said they want to say something themselves. And 71% of the research panel said they had seen “social impressions” about TV shows (see TVGuide’s earlier survey about how those impressions impacted TV viewing).

The most entertaining question from the survey asked the simple question, “What is social TV?” which is even difficult for TV execs to define. But 61% had an answer: “Another stupid marketing term for how people have always watched TV” said one, “liberal biased media crap” responded another. But among them, there were some great definitions, such as “Being hooked into communities online while watching TV” and “a connected atmosphere of television.”

“Social TV is a catch phrase for us in the industry, but it may not be meaningful for the people who are at home, on their couches,” Tanner says.

For the full survey, here’s a link to the deck.

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