Wednesday 11 December 2019 12:01 am

BBC wins battle for social media buzz as streaming giants lag behind

Traditional broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV are winning the battle to create a buzz around new shows, as they generate more social media chatter than their streaming rivals.

Figures published today by market research firm Kantar revealed that the BBC generated more tweets than any other broadcaster in the year to the end of November.

Read more: UK households to splash out an extra £600m on streaming

Out of a total of 98m TV-related tweets, 28m referred to BBC shows, followed by 14.9m about ITV programmes. Netflix came in sixth place with 6m tweets, while Amazon was in tenth place with 1.5m.


The data showed reality and entertainment programmes drove the highest level of social media engagement over the last 12 months, closely followed by current affairs.

The fifth season of ITV’s wildly popular dating show Love Island scooped up more tweets than any other series, while the BBC’s coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 was the most tweeted-about one-off broadcast.

Top 10 series for social media buzz

ProgrammeChannelTweetsImpressions
1 Love Island Series 5ITV2 8,104,447 2,538,400,823
2Question TimeBBC One6,064,101 955,783,388
3Good Morning BritainITV3,020,128 1,489,210,841
4Game of Thrones 2019Sky Atlantic2,835,295 701,725,891
5Doctor WhoBBC One2,469,844 488,539,464
6BreakfastBBC One1,488,309 674,692,555
7NewsnightBBC Two1,460,007 392,377,549
8EurovisionBBC1,350,703 417,413,003
9PestonITV1,303,144 285,923,203
10Black MirrorNetflix1,248,842 243,553,631


“The way in which we consume TV may be evolving at a rapid pace, but one thing remains the same: people have their favourite programmes and they like to talk about them,” said Mark Inskip, chief executive of Kantar’s media division in the UK and Ireland.

“More than ever, we are seeing Brits take to social media to share their views and opinions on TV content and while an increasing volume of that conversation is happening outside of the traditional broadcast window, linear TV channels and programmes are still reigning over on-demand disruptors.”

The figures highlight the influence of so-called appointment-to-view programming, which can generate more engagement than shows released on on-demand platforms.

Read more: BBC chairman hits back at suggestions of Netflix-style subscription model


“It isn’t surprising that streaming services generate less social media buzz because they don’t attract large simultaneous audiences,” said Matt Hill of Thinkbox, which represents the UK’s commercial broadcasters.

“And, despite the hype around them, they actually account for a relatively modest amount of overall TV viewing. Broadcaster TV accounts for over two-thirds of the UK’s video consumption, so you’d expect that to generate more chat.”

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