TV and social media are complementary but opportunities to exploit the synergies are limited in reach, according to Deloitte.

Broadcasters are increasingly using social media to engage with audiences and create online buzz around their shows in the hope of boosting viewing figures and ad revenue.

However, business advisory firm Deloitte found Britons’ enthusiasm is currently limited and driven by young people.

A survey of more than 4,000 people found that just 7% have become Facebook fans of their favourite programmes. Penetration among 18-24-year-olds is 46%.

The study found that two-fifths of 18-24-year-olds frequently comment on the social media page of a programme while they’re watching it, but almost all do this only occasionally.

Howard Davies, media partner at Deloitte, said social media serves to increase interest in programmes and boost ad revenues.

“If social chatter is sufficiently voluminous, this has a snowball effect as traditional and online media pick up on the story,” he said. “This typically raises the value of content. A programme with strong social currency is generally of greater appeal to advertisers because it means their brand becomes associated with content that’s both watched and talked about.”

He added that although the relationship between TV and social media is mutually beneficial at present, it will become increasingly competitive over time.

“As the reach, use and value of social media steadily rise, this could cause ad budgets to get diverted from TV,” Davies said. “Combine this with online’s precise targeting and real-time measurability, and ad rates for social media could increase as they prove their efficacy and migrate to a cost-per-action model, which TV would struggle to replicate.”

Deloitte’s study follows a report by Ofcom that found Britons are increasingly using more than one type of communication device at the same time.

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Published 23 August, 2010 by NMA Staff

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