Nielsen and Twitter Announce a Social TV Rating with a New Metric

By Devon Glenn 

Network TV will now tweet its way to the top thanks to a new ratings system that measures the reach of online and mobile conversations about television shows on Twitter.

Nielsen, which set the industry standard for measuring what television audiences watch and buy, has signed an exclusive multi-year agreement with Twitter that combines data from the micro-blogging site to complement Nielsen’s existing television ratings in the U.S.

Nielsen will incorporate this data into NM Incite’s SocialGuide audience engagement analytics platform, which currently serves as the hub of the company’s social media analytics efforts.

A representative from NM Incite said that although the details of the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating had not been fleshed out yet, “the core of the rating will be the reach metric,” which does what “currently no one can do with Twitter data” by measuring how many social TV comments were actually seen by people on Twitter rather than just estimating their reach based on the number of followers a commenter has.

Twitter reports 140 million active users who send one billion Tweets every two and a half days.

“Our users love the shared experience of watching television while engaging with other viewers and show talent. Twitter has become the world’s digital water cooler, where conversations about TV happen in real time,” said Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media in a statement. “Nielsen is who the networks rely on to give better content to viewers and clearer results to marketers. This effort reflects Nielsen’s foresight into the evolving nature of the TV viewing experience, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Twitter ecosystem partners on this metric to help broadcasters and advertisers create truly social TV experiences.”

CBS chief research officer David F. Poltrack offered a hint as to how networks will use the data collected from the “connected TV audience” members who use smartphones and tablets to simultaneously watch television and access the internet: “As this form of viewer engagement evolves into a mainstream activity, it presents ways for CBS to enhance the viewing experience for our viewers and our advertisers. We are already engaged with Nielsen and Twitter in a program of research and experimentation in this exciting new area. We are pleased to see Nielsen and Twitter join together to provide a comprehensive measurement system that will allow us to employ these social networking tools to their full advantage.”

Image by mkabakov via Shutterstock.