Viewers more responsive than ever to word-of-mouth, still prefer live TV, Viacom study says

The multiscreen revolution will only enhance viewers' loyalty to network brands and live viewing, not degrade them, according to a new study conducted by Viacom that seems to counterintuitively sprinkle a little fairy dust on commonly held TV-industry axioms.

Surveying in person more than 1,500 TV watchers ages 13-44 across Boston and Chicago, Viacom's just-released study, "Getting With the Program: TV's Funnels, Paths and Hurdles," outlined a new pattern for how consumers find programming and become hooked.

The study found that word-of-mouth, not network promotion, is now the top programming-discovery tool, with 90 percent of respondents listing the recommendations of friends, family and hangers-on as their top influencer.

In researching a show, nearly a quarter of respondents say they check the social-media temperature. And when they decide to actually watch, 57 percent say they choose the live-TV option.

Finally, when these viewers complete the evolution to series fan, 61 percent want to watch the first live airing of the program.

"The goal of our research was to uncover the often complex paths audiences take to becoming fans of content," said Colleen Fahey Rush, VP and chief research officer at Viacom Media Networks. "What we're seeing is that the myriad of sources and devices has taken fandom to new heights, making TV a bigger part of our audiences' lives than ever before."

For more:
- read this Viacom statement
- read this Lost Remote story                                                             

Related links:
Viacom's latest TV Everywhere spin: Users prefer it over other online services because of content