Joseph O'Halloran | 07-08-2013
Leading TV research firm Nielsen has released findings which it says provides statistical evidence for the first time of a two-way causal influence between broadcast TV and Twitter.
Fundamentally the research found that live TV ratings had a statistically significant impact in related Tweets among 48% of the episodes sampled, and that the volume of Tweets caused statistically significant changes in live TV ratings among 29% of the episodes.
“Using time series analysis, we saw a statistically significant causal influence indicating that a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of Tweets, and, conversely, a spike in Tweets can increase tune-in,” said Paul Donato, chief research officer, Nielsen. “This rigorous, research-based approach provides our clients and the media industry as a whole with a better understanding of the interplay between Twitter and broadcast TV viewing.”
Nielsen’s Twitter Causation Study set out to analyse if Twitter activity did drive increased tune-in rates for broadcast TV and if broadcast TV tune-in leads to increased Twitter activity. It analysed minute-to-minute trends for 221 broadcast prime time programme episodes using Nielsen’s SocialGuide. Nielsen believes that its study was the first to quantify the extent to which higher levels of tweeting may cause additional viewers to tune in to programming.
The analyst added that the survey demonstrated what many industry observers thought to be true – that increases in TV ratings during an episode cause more people to tweet more often. This may be because there are more people available to tweet about a show, or because more compelling content drives people to tweet more often.
“These results substantiate what many of our TV partners have been telling us anecdotally for years: namely, that Twitter drives tune-in, especially for live, linear television programming,” said Ali Rowghani, Twitter’s chief operating officer. “As the world’s preeminent real-time social communication medium, Twitter is a complementary tool for broadcasters to engage their audience, drive conversation about their programming, and increase tune-in.”