Twitter is helping drive TV viewership, and for the first time there is statistical evidence of a two-way causal influence between broadcast program tune-in and the Twitter chat around that program thanks to the Nielsen company. Nielsen conducted an independent study using a minute-by-minute time series analysis to determine if Twitter activity drives increased tune-in rates for broadcast TV and if broadcast TV tune-in leads to increased Twitter activity. By analyzing minute-to-minute trends in Nielsen’s live TV ratings and tweets for 221 broadcast primetime program episodes using Nielsen’s Social Guide, the study found that live TV ratings had a meaningful impact in related tweets among 48 percent of the episodes sampled. The results also showed that the volume of tweets caused significant changes in live TV ratings, driving them up among 29 percent of the episodes.
“Using time series analysis, we saw a statistically significant causal influence indicating that a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of tweets, and, conversely, a spike in tweets can increase tune-in,” said Paul Donato, Nielsen’s chief research officer. “This rigorous, research-based approach provides our clients and the media industry with a better understanding of the interplay between Twitter and broadcast TV viewing.”
Twitter and Nielsen are also readying their Nielsen Twitter TV ratings for the fall TV season. The ratings will measure the total audience for social TV activity on Twitter, including people who tweet and people who see those tweets. Twitter is supplying the data, but the product will be sold by Nielsen, which hasn’t yet announced what the unit of measurement will be.
“These results substantiate what many of our TV partners have been telling us anecdotally for years: namely, that Twitter drives tune-in, especially for live, linear television programming,” said Ali Rowghani, Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer. “As the world’s preeminent real-time social communication medium, Twitter is a complementary tool for broadcasters to engage their audience, drive conversation about their programming, and increase tune-in.”
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