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For viewers who can't wait to talk about the latest episode of their favorite TV show, social networks are not displacing the water cooler as much as providing a digital analogue. According to a September 2012 survey of US internet users conducted by Nielsen for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), people still most often talked about TV shows while in the same room, face-to-face or over the phone.
But digital and mobile channels also had a discernible presence among viewers looking to socialize about programming. About three in 10 said they had used SMS to discuss shows, and roughly the same number reported using Facebook for that purpose.
Among online channels, Facebook had the greatest influence on getting people to watch a show—46% said they picked up a show as a result of the social network. That was followed by Twitter (14%), the websites of TV shows (9%) and then forums or discussion boards (8%). Content check-in platform GetGlue, however, had yet to make an appreciable impact on viewing habits. Unsurprisingly, the influence of digital channels such as Facebook and Twitter on TV watchers were most pronounced among those ages 18 to 34.
TV watchers also showed a predilection for talking about shows—either in person, online or over the phone—after the show aired. About seven in 10 respondents talked about a show while it was on-air, while three-quarters did so right after its conclusion. The day after a show was broadcast, the percentage of people chatting about a show ramped up to 83%.
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