TV ratings to include Twitter audience as 1 in 50 tweet about favourite shows
TV ratings firm Nielsen is to start measuring the audience for television related conversations on Twitter, in a move that underlines the growing importance of social media to broadcasters.
The new Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, initially rolled out in the USA, will measure the number of people commenting on each TV show as well as the number of people exposed to those tweets.
Nielsen analysis has founded that the average audience for shows such as The Voice is 50 times greater than the number of people actually tweeting.
Social network giants Twitter and Facebook are now becoming a key battleground for competing television stations struggling to maintain ratings. US cable and satellite TV subscriptions are expected to decline in 2013 for the first time ever, dropping to 100.8 million from 100.9 million, according to research firm IHS.
"Twitter and Facebook – it's where our audience lives, and we have to be there," Viacom chief executive officer Philippe Dauman said in an interview.
He cited the torrent of Twitter activity around the VMA awards show, which aired on Viacom's MTV network in August. The programme featured a bawdy "twerking" performance by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke.
"People were tweeting about Miley, going, 'I gotta see this'," Dauman said. "It's a great symbiotic relationship where we drive the conversation on Twitter, and that conversation on Twitter drives people back to watch our shows."
(Additional reporting by Bloomberg)