The panel at RealScreen Summit in DC Mon was mixed on which social media outlet is more important for driving viewership to a program. In one corner, there was Michael Haggerty, SVP of Research for Bravo & Style Media, who is a strong proponent of Twitter. Bravo has made Twitter hashtags as prevalent as “Real Housewives” spinoffs. In the other corner was A&E EVP, Marketing Guy Slattery, whose net is home to #1 TV show on Facebook, “Duck Dynasty.”

“Twitter is the most important one to look at,” said Haggerty. “You can see immediate [reactions]. It’s really important to know what people are talking about.”

Slattery is all about Facebook. “It’s the only place you can get serious scale. Facebook drives a large number of viewers,” he said.

Based on the conversation, it seemed like both were important, but in different ways. Twitter is king for activity while a program is on air. About 90-95% of the conversations about a show on Facebook happens when it’s off air compared to only 40% on Twitter, said Meghann Sill Elrhoul, vp, client services and analytics for WiredSet Trendrr. That doesn’t mean Facebook is inferior. It keeps the conversation going about a show when it’s off air, keeping fans engaged and the show top of mind, she said.

“Facebook is a massive recommendation tool,” said A&E’s Slattery. “People who know each other are recommending shows. There is a lot of sharing and commenting.” But that’s often private, which is why some favor Twitter. Unlike Twitter though, Facebook encompasses younger and older viewers. Duck Dynasty has amassed nearly 3mln likes. The net’s found that funny works well for getting people to share clips and other Duck-related bits. Funny Ducks memes are offered up several times a week, along with user-generated Duck material.

One thing that concerns Jumpwire Media pres Gavin McGarry is the proliferation of bots on Twitter. With Twitter mostly anonymous, “we look at Twitter data a lot differently,” he said. But Haggerty said he doesn’t need to know what state viewers live in to understand what a Tweeter likes or doesn’t like about a show. Plus all that data on Facebook is getting harder to get, and it’s starting to charge, he said.

What about newer players like Viggle, which offer viewers rewards (like gift cards) for viewing, or GetGlue, which offers stickers for watching a show? “You have to pay for marketing on that. It’s less organic. It becomes more of a paid marketing vehicle,” Haggerty said. “It’s driving social that might not be totally fan related.” But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for such apps, he said, saying they can get people to come to a show.

Bottom line: Social TV is growing. In just 6 months, the number of people on Twitter talking about shows went from 1 in 4 to now 1 in 3, Haggerty said. “Social TV sharers are still in the minority, but they are the future of viewing,” he said.

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