Late last year, Nielsen announced their plan to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for the U.S. market. The rating will show the extent of TV conversation on Twitter, a growing platform on which television viewers can discuss their favorite and least favorite shows. Because of the popularity of Twitter as a conversation-based social media platform, its data easily produces standardized metrics that represent online and mobile conversations about television.
Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings launched this Monday, showing the reach of fall TV shows on Twitter. Steve Hasker, president of global product leadership for Nielsen, said that the new ratings, “are a powerful measurement with far reaching implications for the industry,” and are a “holistic measure” for “how Twitter activity influences TV engagement.”
While Nielsen has been compiling TV data for years, the Twitter ratings are a new addition that has yet to prove successful. As of right now, it’s unclear how important these ratings will be for TV producers to attend to, but it’s certain that they will be a valuable tool for investigating the relationship between television and social media. They will also be able to provide real-time metrics that will help understand TV audiences’ social media responses.
While Twitter has been working on this new tool with Nielsen, Facebook has been trying to prove itself just as valuable an indicator of network success through social media. Last week, Facebook announced that it plans to send weekly reports to major US broadcasters and will provide similar information as the Twitter ratings about user activity around TV shows.
Additionally, the social media site will open up its user data regarding television to 10 major networks in eight different countries. With 83% of the site’s users overseas, this inclusion will definitely be important. However, while US networks will receive official reports, the partnerships with international networks only entail access to Facebook’s API in order to embed real-time comments and posts directly into their programs. This means that television shows can now incorporate live feeds of Facebook comments along a bottom ticker while the show is actively on air.
Regardless of which social media company succeeds in their partnerships, both Twitter and Facebook’s cooperation with networks will be beneficial not only for the companies producing TV, but for the people who watch it as well. Shows with smaller, but strongly devoted audiences will be able to see that while their normal Nielsen ratings aren’t very promising as far as reach, ratings on Twitter and Facebook are higher than ever thanks to their powerful and vocal fan base. This could potentially influence networks’ decisions on which shows are renewed, which shows get cancelled and where to direct their advertising campaigns. No matter what, every conversation-based social media site, be it Twitter or Facebook, will be taking on a bigger role in television.