How ‘Viewers C’s the Moment’: A Social TV Research Exploration

by Jacob Shwirtz, Social Viewing, Viacom Media Networks

“Social TV is about integrating your favorite TV shows into your life,” said Austin, a 23-year-old from Boston who uses Twitter, Facebook and GetGlue to socialize around television. Though there isn’t one single app or service that users are flocking to right now, the lack thereof hasn’t deterred viewers from finding creative ways to socialize around television and, like Austin, integrate their favorite shows into their lives.

Keeping up with how our fans consume and socialize around our content is one of my main goals here at Viacom. That’s why I am very excited about our new breakthrough research that digs into the emerging trends of Social TV.

While most of the social TV research out there focuses on volume – how many tweeted during a show or how many ‘friends’ a network has – we chose to explore the social TV phenomenon through the lens of the viewer. We set out to get to the heart of how our viewers think of social TV, what kind of apps, services and sites they use when socializing around TV, and what they want their social TV experience to be. To those who socialize about the shows they love, we found social TV is much more than a tweet or a ‘like.’

We coined the study “Viewers C’s the Moment” because of three “C’s” that kept coming up: communication, content and comments. Our viewers are engaging in an average of seven different social TV activities (online or offline) on at least a weekly basis. They are using multiple devices and services to interact with different social circles while watching a show. A few sentiments we heard over and over:

  • Social TV is about interacting with the TV… and the best part is that I can do it with my friends
  • Twenty years ago it was enough to watch TV, but now it’s fun to see what your friends are watching, and if they’re laughing at the same parts
  • The whole experience of watching TV is becoming more fulfilling

As this new and exciting space evolves, we’ll continue to program with social in mind, and continue to evolve our strategies for engagement. With this research in hand, we’ve got some great fodder for thought.

The Methodology: 1) a national online survey of 1,566, ages 13-54 in January 2012 and 2) 24 ethnographies in Boston and San Diego.

Jacob Shwirtz is Director of Social Viewing for Viacom Media Networks.  Follow Jacob at @shwirtz.

Read the full press release detailing the “Viewers C’s the Moment” study by clicking here.

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  1. i can’t get enough of tv, now that its mobile it takes beyond my expectations.

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