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Twitter Study: Actors are a TV Show’s ‘Greatest Asset’

With the new fall television season underway, Twitter is stressing to networks that the castmembers of their shows are far more powerful as a marketing tool on social media than the feeds devoted to each individual series.

Shonda Rhimes’ “Scandal” is said to have generated a strong fan following thanks to the show’s creator and its actors, including Kerry Washington, live tweeting episodes.

But Twitter wanted to take a closer look at top dramas and reality shows during the past 2013-14 season — and those that implemented regular live tweeting and those that didn’t — to gauge the impact.

What it found is fairly revealing:

— 66% of Twitter users say they like to see tweets from official show accounts.

— 61% prefer those to come from the actors or cast.

— 35% turn to the official show’s account.

— and 24% follow the judges or hosts of the show they’re watching.

As a result of the data, Twitter recommends to showrunners and network heads that one of the most powerful and direct ways to drive conversation about a program on Twitter is to have the stars of the show engaged on Twitter, especially when an episode airs.

“In fact, we found that shows live-Tweeting from cast members during the premiere had 64% more Tweets that day compared to programs that did nothing,” according to Anjali Midha, head of global media and agency research at Twitter, in a blog post, adding that shows that live-Tweeted from the official handle also saw a 7% increase over those that did nothing.”

Live tweeting is also said to contribute to building an audience on Twitter. When a program is on the air, there is a 6.5x lift in follow rate for the show’s official account when its doesn’t live tweet. When it does, that increases 15% to 7.5x. For talent, their accounts increase 228% when they live tweet, a 12.2x follow rate.

Comedies with a cast that live tweets had the biggest percentage increase, Twitter found.

“In addition to being a way to engage with and delight your audience, live-Tweeting is an incredibly powerful way to drive conversation about your show -— and build a lasting audience on Twitter with whom you can connect with year round,” Midha said. “And the most direct way to make an impact through live-Tweeting is through the cast members. They’re your greatest asset.”

In a separate study, with Fox, the Advertising Research Foundation, and db5, Twitter found that 85% of users active on Twitter during primetime TV hours tweet about TV, and that 90% of those who saw TV-related Tweets took action to further engage with the show -— whether to watch, search for, or share content about it.

And in another with Nielsen, tweets had the greatest impact on shows in the competitive reality genre, influencing ratings changes in 44% of episodes.

Also, comedies saw a 37% increase in tune-ins from Tweets, followed by sports with 28%.

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