The guilty pleasure of reality television is more fun shared, with a new survey released showing 67 per cent of dedicated fans of the genre use some form of social media while they watch.
Specifically, 38 per cent interacted on Facebook and 35 per cent on Twitter while watching their favourite shows, according to Reality Ravings blogger Emma Ashton, a phenomenon dubbed “the social sofa”.
Ashton and market research company Nitty Gritty surveyed more than 400 viewers nationally for the “Reality TV Viewer Insights” survey, which showed that Facebook and blogs were the most popular fan forums.
“Viewers clearly like the social nature of the format of reality TV, and people using social media during or after a reality TV episode are more likely to become an entrenched fan of show,” Ashton said.
“These fans who are using ‘the social sofa’ are more likely to watch the shows more regularly, and get emotionally involved with the series and with the contestants.”
There are no prizes for guessing what viewers like the most: 72 per cent said they “enjoyed seeing drama and controversy between contestants”.
The survey also found product placement in programs was extremely effective, with 93 per cent of the respondents saying they were influenced by the advertising and information in the shows and 98 per cent able to make an association with brands aired during reality TV.
“Advertisers are definitely getting more for their money by aligning with reality shows,” said Nitty Gritty’s Julia Houston. “Reality TV viewers like the information they receive from reality shows. This would indicate they are more receptive to brand placement and lifestyle messaging than (viewers of) other formats.”
With the high number of viewers interacting in the social media and online, advertisers need to rethink the advertising opportunity, extending it to a conversation with the consumer after the show has finished airing.
This was also important as the research showed 68 per cent of the viewers fast-forwarded through ads and eight per cent watched shows online.