Social Networks Steal Time From TV, but There's Hope

Mike Vorhaus on Digital Communications

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As has been widely reported, social-networking sites are visited monthly by more than 100 million consumers, and billions of page views are recorded on these sites.

Mike Vorhaus
Photo: Stephanie Diani
Mike Vorhaus is senior VP-managing director of new media and strategy for Frank N. Magid Associates.
We've found that more than a third -- 38% -- of all 12-to-64-year-olds online in the U.S. indicate that they regularly use social networks. And it's not just the younger population using them. A third of women ages 35 to 44, for example, reported that they regularly use the sites.

With all this time being spent on social-networking sites, it isn't surprising that many believe they are reducing other activities. Specifically, we asked people if they believed they were watching less TV since they started using social-networking sites. Over 25% of those using social-networking sites indicated that their TV viewing is being cannibalized. Even if it is a small amount of time, with the large numbers of people involved, this can add up to a lot of TV viewing hours.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 12- to 24-year-olds are more likely to report social network use as taking away from the time they spend watching TV. While this might seem like bad news for networks, as advertisers trying to reach this group may increasingly turn their attention from traditional media to social networks, it also represents an opportunity to tie the two together. For example, companies such as CBS are integrating community features into their online video players, and Joost is counting on social-networking strategies, such as tapping into Facebook for some social video-sharing tools.
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