How Twitter is Helping Shape the Future of Television

November 23, 2013

In a span of just three years, the percentage of consumers watching television during prime time who also use Twitter has increased by more than 60%, according to the report by The Media Audit. Nearly 15% of those who watch TV during prime time on a typical day have also used Twitter in the past 30 days. That compares to just 9.2% just two years ago.

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The Media Audit has 80 markets it measures and the latest figures represent more than 13.1 million consumers. The growing trend of people watching television who also use Twitter makes their viewing and social networking habits very attractive to advertisers and broadcasters alike. Twitter users are really viewed as a group of potential promotional partners.

Increasingly, the general public is streaming video content and TV shows on their mobile devices. And along with that, people are posting and read tweets about TV shows and sporting events in real time, with many of those people belonging to a younger demographic. This presents a very interesting opportunity to companies and media that want to lengthen their reach to include a younger audience who would be eager to buy their products and services. Twitter is an excellent platform for broadcasters to increase their creativity in marketing.

The Media Audit notes that Twitter represents the youngest audience for any social media platform, with an average user age of 35 years. Those figures compare to the average Facebook user who is 40 years old, and a LinkedIn user who is 43 years old. Approximately 84% of Twitter’s audience is in the 18 to 49 year age range and more than half of Twitter’s audience is under 34. That is a solid demographic to try and capture. In addition to regular television broadcasters, cable networks have also embraced social media, especially Twitter.

According to The Media Audit, Twitter users are also above average consumers in areas such as automobiles, consumer electronics, fast food and other consumables. This literally presents a very unique marketing vein for certain products, marketing companies and broadcasters.

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Data from the same study reveals that viewers of the popular network Comedy Channel are 54% more likely to use Twitter and Bravo viewers are 34% more likely to use Twitter.  As a result, networks are utilizing Twitter to create “buzz “and moderate online discussions about programs that are being watched simultaneously, creating a viewing experience that is more participatory in nature rather than passively viewing. [TwitterTrendOct2013]

Sports channels are also skewing that same direction. One of every five ESPN viewers are Twitter users; a figure that is 30% higher when compared to the general population. Fans of nearly every professional sport take to Twitter in order to connect with other fans, sports writers, athletes, and teams, as they are viewing sporting events at the same time on television. Among the most avid Twitter users are professional basketball fans who are 35% more likely to use Twitter when compared to the general population, and professional baseball fans are 27% more likely to use Twitter.

Any story, game or show could break out and go viral at any second and Twitter is a big part of that because of the ease and lightning-fast speed at which information and links can be shared. In fact, it has happened where many times, Twitter users have become news breakers themselves when they are on the scene of an event or tragedy long before traditional media or even first responders can get there. In more of the traditional news sense, television stations have gained significant Twitter followings because people don’t want to have to wait for the actual news broadcast and sometimes, Twitter “broadcasts” are more simplified or casual because of their lack of lengthiness.

It is not entirely unknown whether Twitter will be able to monetize its social media platform (although they just went public, so do the math), data suggests that TV broadcasters and cable networks have many good reasons to utilize the Twitter stream in being a driving force in the TV/digital/social media synergy.

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