nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

Three ways social media can help broadcasters

Tablet and Smartphone media reach

Whether YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter are friends or foes of the TV broadcaster is up for debate. However, here are three ways that social media can help broadcasters reconnect with their audience online.

Great mobile video reach

Getting someone to download a video app on their mobile device can be a struggle. Even the most popular TV channels are thinly penetrated on mobile devices. For example, according to TiVo data only two channels have their apps on more than 5% of mobile devices in the US. 5.5% say they have downloaded ABC’s app and 5.3% have CNNs.

Nielsen data shows that social media has a considerably better reach than video for mobile viewers. For example, in Q2 2016, video reached 47% of the population overall on smartphones. Social media reached 71%. In the 35-to-49-age-group, the difference is even sharper. 57% watched video on their smartphone, while 84% used social media.

The pattern is the same for the tablet. Among 35-to-39-year-olds 32% watch video on their tablet, 46% use social networking. Simply put, video delivered through social media has a better chance of reaching its audience than through a video app.

Great promotional value

People love to share their favorite moments from the TV shows they are watching. Want to see the moment when Vitalii Sediuk mooned at the 2017 Eurovision Song contest? How about your favorite moments from the latest episode of Game of Thrones? Social media is the place to go.

TV broadcasters are realizing the benefits of social media in promoting their shows. And gone are days when they force platforms like YouTube to take down fan-uploaded clips. For example, there are 106M clips related to Fox’s show Empire on YouTube. Ad technology firm Zefr says that 95% of them were uploaded by fans of show.

TV networks are recognizing the value of YouTube and other social platforms as promotion for their most popular shows. For example, there have been 74,000 NBC show related videos uploaded to YouTube. These clips have generated 106.9M engagements (likes, comments, reposts), and 13.4B views.

Opportunity to recapture viewers online

News users on social network sitesLocal broadcasters are struggling to find ways to engage with people in their communities. For example, people, who in earlier times would have turned to TV for news, increasingly satisfy their need on social media. Pew Research center reports that 62% of adults get news on social media sites. Two-thirds of Facebook users and 59% of Twitter users get news from their sites.

Social news consumers haven’t completely abandoned the TV news. According to Pew, 39% of Facebook news users also get news from local TV channels, and 23% still watch the network nightly news. However, the trend is strongly toward social platforms for news. For example, the number of Facebook news users has increased from 47% in 2013, to 66% in 2016.

This data is a strong indication that local news is still valuable to consumers. However, their preferred platform to watch it is becoming social media, not TV. Given the challenges in getting consumers to download broadcaster apps, social media could be the best place for local TV channels to syndicate their news and recapture their migrating audience’s attention.

Why it matters

There are specific ways social media can be leveraged by broadcasters to get consumers to re-engage with their shows.

For reach and promotional value, social media is hard to beat.

By distributing specific assets, like news, on social media, broadcasters can begin to recapture their audience.


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