SM functions as a platform for delivering the message, which is entertainment in addition to communication and information. Information and communication may have been the original intention of this platform, but
SM perusal during the prime time television viewing hours suggests that entertainment is an important element. For example, time spent on SM may decrease the time spent on watching television programming, although Liebowitz and Zentner find that Internet adoption has had a minimal impact on television consumption .
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has more than one billion followers on SM accounts in the US and on Tencent and Sina Weibo in China, covering team, player and league accounts, more than the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League. SM provide the perfect virtual WOM that is a quintessential part of the sports audience. There is a tremendous spillover effect from SM to regular broadcast television as the SM chatter leads individuals to view the live televised event. A Nielson study, commissioned by Facebook, of social conversation about nine NFL games, “found that each additional share of a Facebook post about a game in the 15 minutes before it started correlated with an extra 1,000 viewers for the first minute of the broadcast. That’s not a threat to traditional broadcast; it’s a lifeline” .