Under 25’s swap remote controls for iPhones as ‘Social TV’ trend takes over

Under 25’s swap remote controls for iPhones as ‘Social TV’ trend takes over

72% comment on programmes via social networks as they watch them

How young people watch television is rapidly changing according to a new study of UK mobile internet users below the age of 25.

80% of those surveyed use a mobile device to communicate with friends while watching TV with 72% using Twitter, Facebook or mobile applications to actively comment on shows as they are watching them.

These are the findings of a study conducted by Digital Clarity (www.digital-clarity.com), a specialist digital marketing agency which polled over 1300 people under 25 from a cross section of the UK.

The trend known as ‘Social TV’ is popular with young people as it allows them to instantly comment on their favourite shows to friends in different locations via the web or mobile phone.

In the US, a joint Nielsen and Yahoo study late last year found that the trend is already well established with over 86% of mobile internet users choosing to communicate with each other in real-time during broadcasts. Now ‘second screening’ as it is referred to in the States has become common place in the UK too.

Rather than social networks and television competing for attention it seems that young people are happy to embrace both and use one to enhance their enjoyment of the other.

The UK study found that 34% described the trend as ‘fun’, 32% said it made television ‘more interesting’ with 42% mentioning the ‘community’ aspect of ‘Social TV’.

One survey respondent, Ashleigh Foulser, 18 a student in Bournemouth said, “I love being able to keep in touch with my mates while I’m at college. They are in different towns to me but it’s like having them round to watch TV. We share a lot of jokes and if I comment on something funny or stupid I get replies almost immediately.”

The survey discovered that the most common way to communicate is to use Twitter (72%) Facebook was next popular (56%) and mobile applications (34%). 62% of Social TV users like a combination of all three.

Certain shows such as X-Factor, Skins, Glee, as well as soaps Coronation Street and Eastenders are particularly popular in the UK generating very high Twitter traffic and Facebook messages as they are broadcast.

Reggie James, founder of Digital Clarity explains, “Up until 12 months ago, TV
was struggling to reach the younger market as more and more channels were becoming available. Social TV has changed this completely by turning programmes into online events where you have to watch them as they happen”.

The significance of ‘Social TV’ is not lost on the television networks who have found themselves with whole new marketplace and a different pitch for advertisers.

Last month, a US HBO channel reran the Howard Stern film ‘Private Parts’. Stern was watching simultaneously and started add a live commentary to the action resulting in sky high ratings far higher than could have been forecast breathing new life into a 14 year old movie.

“The audience have already taken their seats and are ready to join the conversation”, concludes James, “it’s now up to the TV companies to tap into this huge and lucrative market.”

 

 

Rachel Mepham
With over 10 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Rachel heads up the team at Digital Clarity. With a history in Paid Search (PPC) since before Google AdWords existed, Rachel is regarded by both clients and peers as one of the most experienced and prolific women in the digital space in the UK. Her approach and application to digital strategy planning has been used by some of the biggest brands as well the leading advertising and marketing agencies.
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