The study by Horowitz Associates found 24 percent of 18- to-34-year-old adults and 30 percent of 15- to-17-year-olds saying they have started watching a show on TV because of something they saw online or through social media.
This compares to 16 percent when all adult viewers 18 years and older are considered, Media Daily News reported Wednesday.
Social media are involved in other ways, the survey found, with 14 percent of social media users reporting it helps remind them to tune into shows, while 10 percent said they like posting to social media sites or other Web sites about shows they watch.
Advertisers seeking to cash in on the phenomenon need to do so carefully, analysts said.
In the social media environment, "consumers do not want to feel 'marketed to' or manipulated," Adriana Waterston, vice president of marketing and business development for Horowitz Associates, said.
"A successful social media or interactive strategy must feel genuine, not fabricated."
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