Nielsen unveils Twitter TV ratings for advertisers

08/10/2013

Twitter has launched its ‘Nielsen TV Twitter Rating’ system in the US, as the firm looks to attract advertisers by linking TV shows to social media engagement.

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Initially announced in 2012, the new tool has been developed in partnership with TV ratings tracker Nielsen.

The new tool, initially available in the US, will display both the number of tweets mentioning specific shows, and the number of accounts those tweets reach.

For example, the New York Times cited that Breaking Bad's finale was mentioned in 1.2 million tweets but those tweets reached a huge 9.3 million Twitter accounts.

Nielsen and Twitter aren't saying how many TV networks or advertisers are currently signed up to use the new rating system, but its introduction shows the micro-blogging platform continuing to cosy up to TV as it courts investors.

The goal of the "Nielsen Twitter TV Ranking" will be to measure the unique audience tweeting about individual programs.

“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. Nielsen is who the networks rely on to give better content to viewers and clearer results to marketers,” said Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media. “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.”

The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating will serve to complement Nielsen’s existing TV ratings, giving TV networks and advertisers the real-time metrics required to understand TV audience social activity. These ratings will build on top of NM Incite’s SocialGuide audience engagement analytics platform. NM Incite is a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Co., and the hub of Nielsen’s social media analytics efforts.

Teaming up with US networks

“The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has generated a substantial ‘connected’ TV audience that is simultaneously watching television and accessing the Internet through these devices. This, in turn, will continue to create the opportunity for content providers like CBS to offer engaging interactive features for our viewers. 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,” said David F. Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation. “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."

“Twitter is a powerful messenger and a lot of fun for fans of our shows, providing them with the opportunity to engage, connect and voice their opinions directly to each other and us,” said Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group. "Combining the instant feedback of Twitter with Nielsen ratings will benefit us, program producers, and our advertising partners.”

Rivalling Facebook in new TV wars

The news comes as rival Facebook has begun tracking how its users engage with 45 primetime TV shows in the US. The move will see Facebook sending weekly reports to the four largest US television networks from this week, providing a look at how much chatter their shows are causing on the social network.

The reports will contain how many “actions” such as likes, comments, or shares a TV episode has generated on Facebook and how many members took part in an action.

Facebook, which will not make the results generally available, will share the data reports with ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS, and a small number of select partners. For example, according to Facebook, ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” recently yielded more than 1 million interactions from about 750,000 users. Meanwhile, the premiere of Fox’s freshman thriller “Sleepy Hollow” had more than 350,000 interactions. And for the series finale of AMC’s “Breaking Bad” Sunday, more than 3 million people generated more than 5.5 million interactions on Facebook.

Tapping entertainment avenues could generate big ad revenue for Twitter, which last week filed for a $1 billion initial public offering. In addition to its music platform, the company has been ramping up content partnerships with TV networks.

Last month, Twitter signed a deal with CBS that will enable the TV network to embed video clips from a wide variety of its shows in its tweets. The partnership is part of Twitter's Amplify program, which presents the social network's users with video clips provided by its TV partners, accompanied by short advertisements. The Amplify partners, in turn, target their videos at their users with promoted tweets.

Read the official Nielsen blog announcement here

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