The relationship between television and social media is becoming increasingly intertwined, particularly amongst younger generations, according to a recent YouGov / Deloitte report for the Media Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival.
The report found that the majority (79%) of young people aged 18–24 in the UK use social networking sites at the same time as they watch television.
It seems that for many, the Internet makes TV more interactive. 42% of those UK adults who use the Internet while watching television do so to discuss or comment on the programmes they are watching at the time.
Membership of online fan groups for favourite programmes is also popular. A quarter of online UK adults (24%) are members of a fan group for a programme that they like to watch, rising to 59% amongst 18-24 year-olds. It seems that joining a group via Facebook is the most popular way to show affiliation to a particular television programme, with 57% of 18-24 year-olds becoming ‘fans’ of their favourite shows.
For young people, the benefits of joining a group with like-minded viewers of their favourite shows are manifold. 32% of respondents join to see comments from other fans, while others do so to gain access to exclusive or additional content, for example previews (15%) and/or deleted scenes (12%).
Typically, social networks and media have served, organically and deliberately, to raise awareness of, and maintain interest in, television programmes. However, while the current relationship between television and social media/networks is largely symbiotic, in the medium-term it has the potential to turn combative, with competition for audience time and advertising budgets steadily intensifying. At present though, television provides content about which users of social media and networks can talk, recommend, and watch.