Can Social Media Save TV Shows – Social TV & The New Media Minute

Can Social Media Save TV Shows   Social TV & The New Media Minute

Network executives are already canceling new fall shows like ABC's Charlie's Angels and NBC's The Playboy Club, raising the question of what role social media plays in the success of a TV show. The New Media Minute did some digging to see if these shows scored in social buzz, and also looks at a new Nielsen study linking online buzz and higher ratings. Plus, cable networks such as WE tv and Oxygen have indeed found a link between social media and TV show performance. For details, check out the New Media Minute.

Do Social & TV Go Hand In Hand?

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So with axes already fallen on new TV shows like ABC's Charlie's Angels and NBC's The Playboy Club, and analytics experts keen to understand whether there's any correlation between social buzz and TV ratings, it's worth noting that none of these cancelled shows were among the top 100 most-buzzed-about shows in online circles last week, nor did they crack the list for the entire month of September. That's according to data from the social tracking service Social Guide.

Now, their lack of buzz may have been the canary in the coal mine to network execs that the shows would falter. A just-released Nielsen report confirms that, yes, social chatter does indeed translate to higher TV ratings. Nielsen found that for the 18-34 age group that a 9% increase in social buzz volume correlates to a 1% increase in ratings. Of course, every ratings point makes a huge difference to advertisers, so that's a significant increase.

Cable networks too have also learned that social media can boost ratings, because Facebook & Twitter are often where viewers first learn about a TV show. The cable network WeTV said that in a study it conducted, about 1/3 of female Facebook users 18-54 have recommended a TV show to their Facebook friends.

Oxygen has had success on air and online with its Glee Project this past summer in part because of social TV pro viewing apps, and partnerships with social sites like Get Glue that help drive viewership and impressions. The network said the show nearly tripled in total viewers over its run partly because of those social TV efforts.

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About the Author -
By day, Daisy Whitney is a producer, on-air correspondent, podcaster and raconteur in the new media business. She produces conferences for iMedia and provides strategy consulting to businesses on their online video presence and the online video marketplace. As a reporter, Daisy covers new media for NBC’s KNTV,, Beet.TV, MediaPost and others. She also hosts the top-ranked iTunes audio podcast “This Week in Media,” which you should totally subscribe to. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Greg Machlin

    This is useful, but it's also worth noting that–(in my personal, non-statistical-verified experience) the most buzzed-about TV shows also tend to be the most critically acclaimed–check out the lengths of comment pages on entries on "Breaking Bad," "Community," and "Parks & Rec" (not to mention "Mad Men" & "Lost") on Alan Sepinwall's blog or at the AV Club. Rather than trying to artificially generate social media buzz, just make really good TV, and the buzz will come to you.

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