Survey: Social not a big deal for Web TV

Faith Merino · January 19, 2011 · Short URL:

A survey of SideReel users finds that most don't care about what their friends are watching

What do people really want in their TV-watching lifestyles?  Do they want to check-in, share, or chat about episodes?  No!  They want to veg while drinking alone in the privacy of their own bedrooms!  Sort of.

A survey of 1,800 TV watchers was released Wednesday by SideReel, a TV watching guide that allows users to track which of their favorite shows they’ve watched, and the results are pretty interesting—even counter-intuitive: as it turns out, people are less concerned with checking in and sharing their TV watching habits than they are with just…watching TV.

Of the 1,800 SideReel users polled, only 25% reported being interested in seeing what their friends are watching, a drop from 50% last year, which means that social connectivity in TV watching could be less popular than previously imagined.  Only 10% are interested in sharing their TV watching habits with others, so none of the major check-in services (Miso, GetGlue, Clicker, Foursquare) showed significant usage among SideReel users.

Who are these SideReel users who don’t want to mix their friends with their TV?  For one thing, they’re a little older.  In 2010, the average age of the SideReel user was 29 while the user’s average age in 2009 was 26.  Some 30% of those users own an iOS device, the vast majority of those devices being iPod Touches, while 16% own an Android device.  More than 5% own an iPad.

The survey also found that 78% of users polled watch more than five hours of TV online per week, while 54% watch 5-20 hours of TV online each week.  Those who watch more than 10 hours of TV online per week are less likely to have cable than those who watch less than 10 hours of TV online.

Interestingly, only 24% of users surveyed said they subscribe to Netflix—which is particularly odd considering Netflix’s big push toward online streaming.  More than 40% of those polled said that in the last month, they watched TV online by connecting their computer to their TV set or watching on some other connected device, and 40% said that they have streamed video to their TV in the last month, which represents a threefold increase over last year.

“People are mixing new technologies with familiar ones to get a personalized TV experience that includes all of their favorite shows,” said SideReel CEO Roman Arzhintar in a prepared statement. “For many, traditional TV watching is starting to supplement online watching, rather than the other way around.”

In October, SideReel launched SideReel for Google TV, a new version of the website that allows users to track their favorite TV shows and get alerts of new episodes through Google TV using the “My Shows” feature.  How many SideReel visitors will use this feature is up for debate, but Arzhintar is confident.  “While price and network sensitivity to Google TV will likely slow its initial dominance in the living room, we expect GTV and our other ‘living room’ integrations under development to become a significant part of our business over the next few years,” he said in a previous interview with VatorNews. 

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SideReel makes it easy to track shows you've watched and want to watch, get new episodes as soon as they become available, and share your favorite shows with friends. Get over 24,000 shows, 530,000 episodes and the latest community news, reviews and gossip in one place. If it's online, it's on SideReel.