The findings come from a new study which investigates the relationship between TV and social media usage from Viacom, called When Networks Network: TV Gets Social .
The report revealed three key types of motivations leading fans to engage in TV-related social media activities: functional, communal and playful, with the former proving most popular.
Function trumps all other motivating factors when it comes to TV-related social media use, with viewers more interested in the experiences and content offered by networks and TV shows than communicating with others on social media.
Around 45% of viewers use social media to keep up with the latest show news, while 44% use it to stay informed about air dates and times and 37% use it to access exclusive show information (36% use it to access video and plot clues).
Perhaps surprisingly, functional motives are stronger for teens and young adults with viewers 13 to 17 most likely to use social media to search for show schedules.
Christian Kurz, VP of research insights and reporting for Viacom said: “Globally social media is becoming today’s version of a TV guide for viewers – it is really how they prefer to get their information about the shows they watch”.
Communal factors are the second most common reason for engaging in TV-related social media use. Viewers use social media to share taste (34%), connect with the show (28%) and connect with other fans (28%).
Around 24% of viewers use social media to play games, win rewards and engage in polls and quizzes to do with TV shows. Over 30% said they played TV show-related games on a weekly basis.
Social media is also a source of show discovery, with 39% of viewers saying they used it to find out about new programs. It was not as effective as promos (54%) and word of mouth (50%) however.
Nevertheless the findings revealed that social media-fueled show discovery uniquely and postiviely impacts live tune-in with viewers significantly more likely to watch a show premiere on live TV when that show is discovered via social media.
Around 70% of viewers are more likely to watch the live debut of a show that was discovered on social media, versus 48% live if it was discovered elsewhere.
41% are likely to watch a show live past its first season if the show was discovered on social media, versus 28% live if it was discovered elsewhere.