Nielsen Rates TV Shows Using Your Tweets!

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Only two days ago Nielsen announced it’s long-rumored Twitter TV rating system where television shows will be critiqued based on tweets by viewers. The egg-of-an-idea for the analytic method of social media calculations was laid in November of 2012 after Nielsen’s acquisition of SocialGuide. And, as to be expected, Twitter is attempting to make more money by positioning the new marketing ability as a ploy to make the platform appealing to media partners.

“Twitter itself responded with the $80 million purchase of analytics companies Bluefin Labs for $80 million and Trendrr,” states

The real sway in this newfangled rating system doesn’t lie in the tweet itself, of course, but actually in the web of Twitter users who sift through the ocean of tweets. Each tweet is seen and read by the poster’s followers which can number in the hundreds or thousands, and so the dissemination of social media messages have the ability to grow into mounting tidal waves of feedback for Nielsen’s show ratings. Nielsen published a study elaborating on the distinct connectivity of social media engagement and influential television assessments:

In August, another report claimed to show a causal relationship between tweets and TV viewership. Yet neither was embraced as proof of concept. “It was a small study,” says Sabrina Caluori, VP of social media and performance marketing at HBO. “There were no premium or cable networks [included].” The report revealed that tweets caused ratings to spike for just 29% of the 221 episodes in the sample. Unsurprisingly, tweeters had the greatest impact on reality TV, affecting ratings 44% of the time. As for such specifics as how many tweets, exactly, it takes to lift ratings, Nielsen didn’t say. “We’re still looking to see additional studies they’ll be doing to see how our programming may be affected,” Caluori says. Still, she is a Twitter believer. “Our take is that Twitter is another important word-of-mouth driver,” she says, citing the “rabid” Twitter following of ‘Game of Thrones’.

In a recent internet article, notes that “Online interaction with media is fast becoming a metric of success in various parts of the entertainment industry. At the beginning of the year, Billboard began counting YouTube views in its chart calculations, propelling one-hit wonder Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’ to the top position. Additionally, Nielsen itself also started counting online television views as well a few months ago.

Though Nielsen’s new system is a separate metric from its main TV ratings system, it’s still another way for networks and their advertisers to judge the reach of their message. It’s possible that in the face of th DVR, social media is making TV appointment viewing again. It’s unclear if that trend will carry over to a more asynchronous viewing event like film-going, but hopefully not.”


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