Has Social Media Changed Television?

by · January 31, 201411 comments

Originally, analysts predicted that the rise in Internet usage would decrease the amount of time people spent watching TV. However, Eggo Müller says that this didn’t turn out to be the case. The Internet and social media have actually enhanced TV viewing in many ways without negatively affecting its popularity as a pastime.

Take a look at some of the ways TV has changed because of social media and the Internet.

Television Show Ratings Are Easier to Gather

TV MobileIn the past, Nielsen sent surveys out in the mail to a random statistical sampling of people around the U.S. asking about the television shows they liked and watched. Then, TV ratings were determined by the results. This method is still used by Nielsen today, but the Internet and social media also have an influence on TV ratings. For instance, companies can compare the average number of fans on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to see if a television show is popular. Some of the surveys can also be completed and turned in online.

Streaming and YouTube Means People Never Have to Miss a Television Show

Another huge advantage to the Internet and social media is that people never have to worry about missing their favorite TV show because it’s available online for a short period of time after the initial airing on TV. However, many televisions networks are now requiring people to login through their TV provider before streaming. This is very new territory for networks and cable providers and the rules for content distribution are still being disputed. Traditionally, cable TV has always been regulated by the FCC to keep certain companies from becoming monopolies in the marketplace. This means that broadcasters are required to pay for the rights to carry Cable signals and distribute content. However, these acts were created before Internet streaming technologies and have since come into question by new business models like Netflix and Aereo.

Hashtags on Twitter Enable Conversations About Television Shows

Twitter has changed television, too. It isn’t as popular as Facebook, but it still has nearly 200 million users. Television networks are taking advantage of this large market to engage with their fans. For instance, many television shows now display hashtags in the bottom corner of the screen during shows so fans can easily get on twitter and see what others are saying about the show, chiming in themselves.

Anyone can search these hashtags on Twitter and follow along, even if they don’t want to participate in the conversation. There was even a Twitter campaign lead by die-hard Chuck fans who tried to stop the show from being cancelled by talking about it on Twitter.

Facebook Provides Additional Information to Fans

Twitter isn’t the only social network that has changed television. Most television shows also have a Facebook page where fans can read up on the latest episodes, learn more about the actors, and enter to win prizes related to the show. This keeps fans more interested in the show. Many television shows, such as Grey’s Anatomy, even show sneak-peak videos through Facebook to get fans excited about upcoming episodes.

Facebook is a great way for networks to promote their shows because when someone likes a page on Facebook, all the friends in his or her network are notified. This encourages even more people to visit the television show’s page and also become fans. This means social media is now crucial to promoting new television shows. You will find every single popular television show on Facebook.

YouTube Turns Commercials into Viral Videos

Television has always had commercials, but social media and the Internet have changed the way they’re presented. For instance, companies are always trying to come up with commercials that’ll turn into viral videos on YouTube. This is a great advertising strategy because it gets people to remember a show more.

Another trend is for commercials to invite viewers to connect with them on social networks. The goal of commercials is no longer just to advertise products. It’s to create a loyal fan base on social media, too.

As you can see, social media and the Internet have had a significant impact on television. In general, television shows want to engage with their fans as much as possible to gain a more loyal audience and this is made possible through social media. How else do you think social media and the Internet have changed television? Leave a comment below.

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About Teddy Hunt

Teddy Hunt

Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • NG9

    Good one Teddy. We are managing Digital Marketing for 2 TV channels and this insight will surely help.

  • http://thetopfivepercent.com/ Stephen W. Anderson

    Excellent points, Teddy and i also find that many TV shows have an integration with the web in real time. The shows where the outcomes are based on votes from the viewing audiences are becoming more and more popular.

    Not only does this give an interactive aspect to the shows themselves, but if worked well, another revenue stream.

  • joyce

    I totally agree with you, especially when it comes to fandoms. It is so much easier now to find like minded people and talk about TV shows and the latest episodes.
    What is even more magical: when fandoms can prevent shows from being cancelled!

  • Joel Harrison

    I was actually watching a new episode of Shark Tank the other day and thought, okay, let’s really try out this Twitter hashtags with tv stuff. It was actually very cool! Seeing what other people are commenting and talking to them about the show. it actually has a lot of appeal when you finally dive into it. Great post Teddy loved your insight.

  • CreatingMedia

    As a Brit, I think that the BBC political programmes use the hashtag feature particularly well – people love to rant about politics, and twitter is full of it during ‘Question Time’ (#bbcqt) and ‘Have I Got News for You’ (#bbchignfy)

  • stephanie gutierrez

    Great points! It is interesting because for a while I felt that social media may have had a negative impact on TV as well, however it has turned certain television shows and advertisements into these social phenomenons. I am constantly being exposed to various YouTube trailers that have gone viral, and it is interesting to see what type of commercials are considered worthy of being shared depending on the type of audience. It’s also incredibly intriguing to see which commercials are popular across a wide ranage of age groups and demographics, such as the ever-so-popular Budweiser Puppy Love Super Bowl commercial that both my grandparents as well as younger siblings were ecstatic to share. Great blog!

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