Global: Word-of-mouth is an effective way to get consumers to watch new TV shows and movies
May 11th, 2023, Janice Fernandes

Global: Word-of-mouth is an effective way to get consumers to watch new TV shows and movies

When it comes to choosing what TV show or movie to watch, there are several factors that can influence a viewer's decision-making process. Data from a recent YouGov survey conducted across 18 international markets shows that recommendations from friends, family, or word-of-mouth is the most influential factor with 58% of global respondents saying it helps them make a decision.

A significantly lower share of global respondents say any type of review helps them decide, but it’s still over a third of consumers (38%). It's interesting to note that there isn’t much of a difference in the percentage of people who say they tend to rely on social media and online buzz (32%) and those who say TV commercials help them decide (30%), indicating that both old and new media are equally effective when promoting a new series or movie.

Around a quarter of global respondents (25%) choose their next show or movie based on what streaming platforms recommend. Online advertising influences the viewing habits of two in ten consumers (20%). This share is halved, with 10% of consumers saying print advertisements help them decide which new series or movie to watch. Podcasts and metareview sites also register one in ten consumers each (10%) with one in eight consumers picking radio as the medium that helps them decide what to watch next.

In Europe and North America, recommendations from friends, family, or word-of-mouth is the most influential factor, with 59% and 60% of respondents respectively indicating that it helps them decide. In Europe, social media and online buzz play a slightly less significant role with 23% of respondents relying on this when deciding what to watch, while reviews are more influential (36%) and so are TV commercials (27%).

In North America, TV commercials are more influential with a third (33%) of respondents relying on them. While 21% say online advertisements help them, the figure drops significantly with around one third of that proportion saying the same about print advertisement (7%).

Recommendations from friends, family, or word-of-mouth is the most influential factor in UAE (48%), although to a slightly lesser extent than the western regions. Social media and online buzz is much more important in this region (44%), followed by any type of review (40%). Online advertising is also much more influential in the UAE (38%) and so is radio, which registers nearly two in ten consumers (19%), the highest of all the regions surveyed.

Over half of respondents in the APAC region prefer recommendations from friends, family, or word-of-mouth when picking a new series or movie (57%). Consumers in APAC (44%) are more likely than people in North America and Europe to make their pick based on social media and online buzz. Metareview sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic and podcasts are not particularly influential, with around one in eight respondents indicating that they rely on them when deciding their next TV fix (13% and 12% respectively).

Overall, data suggests that there are some differences in what influences men and women when making a decision about what TV show or movie to watch. However, these differences are relatively small and suggest that, for the most part, men and women have similar decision-making processes when it comes to choosing what to watch.

The only major differences are global women are far more likely than men to take suggestions from friends/family or word-of-mouth (62% vs. 54%) and social media (33% vs. 30%).

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 512 and 2007 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in March 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

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