Magazine article USA TODAY

Do You Trust Friends or Followers?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Do You Trust Friends or Followers?

Article excerpt

With 115,600,000 television viewing homes in the U.S., watching a favorite program is nothing like it used to be. In the world of social media and mobile devices, people no longer huddle around one television set at night and discuss their favorite TV moments over the water cooler at the office the next day in the same way anymore. Individuals are tuning in with a "second screen," like an iPad or laptop computer, and are interacting in new ways with TV. With social media, a television program can get positive or negative feedback from a viewer almost instantaneously.

Given this growing trend, one would think social media is dominating the battle for TV viewership but, surprisingly, it does not rule the tube and old-fashioned word-of-mouth (or "water cooler conversation") still holds more influence over viewers, according to research from the University of Rochester (N.Y.).

"While social media, especially Twitter, can benefit a television show in real-time, offline word-of-mouth is more influential to get a new viewer to watch a new program, thus increasing a show's ratings," notes Mitchell Lovett, associate professor of marketing. …

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