Nielsen: Twitter does move ratings

According to SocialGuide, 32 million unique people in the US Tweeted about TV in 2012. What does it all really mean for the TV industry? Should networks and advertisers be paying attention? Early research on the subject from Nielsen and SocialGuide says yes.

By analysing Tweets about live TV, the study confirmed a relationship between Twitter and TV ratings. It also identified Twitter as one of three statistically significant variables (in addition to prior-year rating and advertising spend) to align with TV ratings.

“While prior-year rating accounts for the lion’s share of the variability in TV ratings, Twitter’s presence as a top three influencer tells us that Tweeting about live TV may affect program engagement,” said Andrew Somosi, CEO of SocialGuide. “We expected to see a correlation between Twitter and TV ratings, but this study quantifies the strength of that relationship.”

Much of the correlation is being driven by the rise in media consumption across multiple device screens. We know that 80 per cent of US tablet and smartphone owners who watch TV use their device while watching at least several times a month. We also know that 40 per cent of US tablet and smartphone users visit a social network while watching TV.

How well does Twitter align with TV programme ratings? The recent Nielsen/SocialGuide study confirmed that increases in Twitter volume correlate to increases in TV ratings for varying age groups, revealing a stronger correlation for younger audiences. Specifically, the study found that for 18-34 year olds, an 8.5 per cent increase in Twitter volume corresponds to a 1 per cent increase in TV ratings for premiere episodes, and a 4.2 per cent increase in Twitter volume corresponds with a 1 per cent increase in ratings for midseason episodes. Additionally, a 14.0 per cent increase in Twitter volume is associated with a 1 per cent increase in TV programme ratings for 35-49 year olds, reflecting a stronger relationship between Twitter and TV for younger audiences.

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