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Social Usage During TV Time Still Small

Millennials are the age demographic most likely to engage in social TV

Multitasking while watching TV is on the rise, with research released in March 2014 by Deloitte reporting that 86% of US consumers did so. However, October 2013 polling conducted by Nielsen for the Council for Research Excellence and Keller Fay Group found that social media has a long way to go before it becomes a main element of TV time.

US Mobile Device Users Who Simultaneously Use Social Media While Watching Primetime TV, Oct 2013 (% of total)

According to the study, just 16.1% of US internet users used social media while watching live or timeshifted primetime TV programs. However, 7.8% of that social usage was not TV-related. The remaining 8.3% was related to the television in some way, with 7.3% focusing on the actual show and 1.0% discussing TV in general.

The Council for Research Excellence/Keller Fay Group found that millennials were the age group most likely to engage with social media while watching TV—particularly, older millennials; 9.6% of 25- to 34-year-olds said they used social media while viewing primetime TV. Younger millennials, those ages 15 to 24, came in second place among age groups for social TV usage, with 9.2%.

Deloitte, which determined that 26% of US internet users used social media “always” or “almost always” while watching live or timeshifted TV programs, had similar findings when it came to age demographics, though its percentages were much higher. Around half of those in the 14-to-24 and 25-to-30 age groups typically used a social network as they watched television.

Activities Conducted While Watching TV According to US Internet Users, by Generation, Dec 2013 (% of respondents in each group)

A January 2014 study from Twitter, FOX and the Advertising Research Foundation, conducted by db5, looked specifically at Twitter usage while watching television; the social platform has worked hard over the past year to solidify its connections with TV.

Times When US Twitter Users Tweet About TV Shows They Watch, Jan 2014 (% of respondents)

The research confirmed that those who do use social with TV don’t just do so during a live broadcast, with the majority of Twitter users, for example, also tweeting while viewing on a timeshifted platform or even when not watching a show.


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