TV Ratings Start Socialising

Twitter and Nielsen announced an exclusive agreement to create a ‘Nielsen Twitter TV rating’ in the US at the end of last year. They have pledged to deliver a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of TV conversation on Twitter, slated for commercial availability at the start of the autumn 2013 TV season. TV buyers in the US will then be able to plan their schedules to maximise share of social conversation, and planners will have a metric to quantify the social effect of multi-screen connected TV campaigns.

What does this mean for Ireland? It’s unlikely an initiative like this will be announced in Ireland next year but we’d expect a similar Twitter initiative in the UK in 2013. It will produce a new currency for planning and buying TV and online. It produces indices for every programme and adds value to commoditised  spots. High quality, high rating programming producing large social media reactions have value for advertiser. Advertisers amending schedules will also be able reach light TV viewers more, who are regular users of twitter (Choice 4 TGI 2012). [Click for a larger image]

Regular Users Of Twitter

“The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating is a significant step forward for the industry, particularly as programmers develop increasingly captivating live TV and new second-screen experiences, and advertisers create integrated ad campaigns that combine paid and earned media,” said Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. While Nielson and TV providers will only be interest in real-time TV engagement data, Irish advertisers should be interested in conversations pre and post the programme. 60% of all twitter mentions on the 10th June relating to the Euro 2012 match between Ireland v Croatia were outside the RTE programming (Mindshare). [Click for a larger image]

Twitter Mentions By Minute

Twitter isn’t the only real-time discussion board for TV programmes. Facebook and message boards/forums are other places where conversations happen. From an Irish perspective and Facebook reach more users on a daily basis than twitter (ComScore). Will advertiser miss a trick not having these sites included in the measurement? Both allow for more discussion and are not restricted by 140 characters.

The types of programming aired will have an impact on the engagement. Live sport and entertainment and political discussions will drive organic conversations but will hard-hitting real-life dramas? The limitation of 140 characters limits the discussion to light-hearted talk while Facebook and message boards/forums allow for more serious talk.
Having said that the introduction of a ‘Nielsen Twitter TV rating’ is exciting and means TV stations and advertisers alike will need to start looking at their audiences differently. They can’t just rely on organic talk around programmes but actively need to encourage and drive conversations. This is more than just having a hashtag at the start of a programme. It means being active during the programme (obviously within reason) by posing questions or actions. For example, #GoingHome appeared on screen during the sing-off between the bottom two in the US x-factor.