Why Social Media is Great for Television
There’s been a lot written about the value of social media for TV shows. It reflects viewer engagement, it’s a form of promotion for networks, and it’s a way to track viewer devotion.
But perhaps the most important thing of all about social media and television is that it turns a TV show into a must-see live event for young people who might otherwise time-shift a show.
Viewers 30 and under can’t pop onto Facebook or Twitter without seeing a barrage of messages from their friends about shows they enjoy together.
Since these Gen-Yers virtually live on social media sites, it ensures that they will watch highly social shows live so that they can engage with their friends by the minute about every development.
There’s no better illustration of this on cable than ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars,” which became the second-most-social program in history with last week’s season three premiere, behind only “Liars’” season two finale.
“Liars,” which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday, generated 534,000 tweets during the hour, including 100,000 during the first five minutes, according to social media tracking site SocialGuide.
At its peak the show was mentioned in 34,000 tweets per second.
That social engagement pushed “Liars” to strong ratings, too, ranking as TV’s No. 1 show of the day in females 12-34 with 1.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen, and girls 12-17 with 854,000.
What that means for advertisers is that a huge chunk of young viewers, who are more apt to time-shift their programming or watch it online than other age groups, saw their commercial messages live.
That’s particularly valuable to the retail and wireless categories that cater to this group, because their ads often have some sort of time element, promoting a big sale or new deal.
It’s not just “Liars” that generates this must-see-live social media viewing, though “Liars” is certainly the best at it. Other highly social cable shows include MTV’s “Teen Mom” and “Teen Wolf,” USA’s “WWE,” VH1′s “Basketball Wives” and TBS’s “Family Guy.”