Facebook: 'Pretty confident' we can help drive TV ratings

By Cory Bergman 

Facebook’s Andy Mitchell told the audience at the Social TV Summit on Wednesday that he’s “pretty confident” that his company’s integration with USA Network helped drive incremental ratings for the show Psych. He provided some impressive numbers from Facebook’s partnership with Nielsen to help back it up.

Facebook powered the Character Chatter application for USA — Facebook calls it a “canvas app,” which means it lives on Facebook.com — which was promoted from Psych’s Facebook page, which recently passed two million fans. Character Chatter, which also lives on USANetwork.com, allows viewers to chat about Psych as they watch, sharing their impressions with their friends.

Mitchell says the canvas app integration (above) boosted pageviews for Character Chatter overall by 508% with an average of 15 minutes per visit. The social game Hashtag Killer, which ties to Psych, was shared to 38 million people. He said 62% of people who are fans of Psych in Facebook watched the show the previous night — and 89% for those die-hard fans part of “Club Psych,” a rewards program that connects with Facebook, watched that week’s show as well.

Overall, Mitchell says Psych’s ratings are up 10% in the 18-49 demographic and 18% among 24-54s this season. “I feel pretty confident,” he said, “that it helped increase ratings for the show.” When a member of the audience asked about the difference between correlation and causation, Facebook’s Kay Madati admitted it was a tough question. “Something’s going on,” he said. “There is a connection between buzz and ratings.”

Madati quoted an earlier Nielsen study that found that a 9% increase in social buzz two weeks prior to a show’s premiere corresponds to a 1% increase in ratings.