1.65 Billion Likes of TV Shows Indicates Facebook’s Importance to Television

At the TV of Tomorrow conference today in San Francisco, Facebook’s Director of Media Partnerships Justin Osofsky revealed that 275 million users have Liked a TV show on Facebook. Those that have Like an average of six shows, which means there’s been roughly 1.65 billion Likes of TV shows. 17 of the 100 most Liked Pages represent TV shows.

These statistics indicate that TV studios should consider increasing their marketing efforts on Facebook to take advantage of the organic interest in Liking Pages of TV shows. Through Pages, they can strengthen fan loyalty, increase viewership, and sell merchandise.

With DVD sales slipping and more viewers moving towards online streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu that earn less for content producers and studios, the TV industry needs to keep fan loyalty high. Liking a TV show has become a common practice — not one reserved for just a show’s biggest fans, causing Facebook Pages to emerge as a powerful medium for increasing this loyalty.

Pages for shows such as Family Guy (30.2 million Likes), South Park (26.7 million), Two and a Half Men (18.8 million), and Glee (13.7 million) have converted their strong brands into huge followings without relying on advertising. This is because years of great content have led users to actually feel the shows help define their identity, so they’re happy to share their affinity with friends.

These Pages use their updates to announce air-times of episodes, offer video clips, direct user to studio websites where they can stream shows, and encourage fans to buy t-shirts and DVDs. Some shows post exclusive content, such as interviews with actors and directors, so Liking their Pages becomes essential to getting the full experience.

Pages for characters from shows offer additional opportunities for communication. For instance Sheldon Cooper, a character played by Jim Parsons on the show The Big Bang Theory has 4.9 million fans, and posts in character to deepen the connection between fans and the program.

Some shows with popular Pages aren’t utilizing their enormous fan bases, though. For example, the Page for character Dr. House of the Fox show House has 19.9 million Likes and is growing at nearly a million Likes a month, but hasn’t posted any content since April 2010

Similar to music which claims 44 of the top 100 Pages as of May, the potential ROI for Facebook marketing of television is high because Liking Pages for shows feel natural, dissimilar to Liking Pages of brands. By creating Pages for their shows and characters, and updating them frequently with relevant news and exclusive content, TV studios can capitalize on the inherent interest of users.