Does Social Media Add to TV Ratings?

Oct 2011

Social media is fun.  Television can be fun.  Combine the two and they should be huge amounts of fun.  That is sometimes the case for shows but it all comes down to demographics.

Not surprisingly the television shows that attract younger demographics have more social media engagement.  The Vampire Diaries has created its own social media game called Get Sucked In.  That show is on CW, is aimed at the under 25 age group and is in last place in its time slot with 2.63 million tuning in.

When people talk about a show it helps in the long run.  They’ll share clips of the show, comment on their social media pages and engage with other fans of the show.  Social media helps build buzz that maintains interest throughout the regular season and peaking as the season finale approaches.  The top tier shows that skew younger have massive engagement that directly correlates to ratings.

Social media helps build buzz.  Offer some sneak previews to the show online, invite some bloggers, have them review it and the buzz starts.  Put the stars on the road to promote it and hope that the people want to watch.  Independent movies like The Way have started promoting their entertainment through social media primarily, why should TV be any different?

Granted the viewing habits of TV have changed.  When Firefly was cancelled it 4.7 million were watching it.  Sports Night was cancelled with 11.1 million viewers and My So-Called Life had 12.1 million viewers.  Now major networks consider a freshman TV series a moderate success when it has 5 million viewers.

The competition for your television time has increased dramatically.  Social media, when used effectively, is helping some shows stay on the air way past their expiration date.  It’s also helping some shows that were canceled too early, like Arrested Development get a second chance on TV, as well as, a feature film.

Photo credit: @instianale

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