Twitter TV audience grows 24% in size, 38% in volume

Joseph O'Halloran | 11-10-2013

In its first ever measure of how many people view TV-related tweets, TV ratings agency Nielsen has discovered that the Twitter TV audience has grown rapidly over the last 12 months in terms of both volume and user base.

The measurement firm says that over the past two years, the growth in Twitter activity around TV shows has been “nothing short of remarkable” with tweets about live TV and the number of Twitter authors talking about TV programming both increasing in double-digit fashion.
In its first Twitter TV Rating looking at the second quarter of 2013, Nielsen calculated that 19 million unique people in the US composed 263 million tweets about live TV, a 24% year-over-year increase in authors and a 38% increase in Tweet volume.
It also found that the Twitter TV audience for an episode is, on average, 50 times larger than the authors who are generating tweets, with the ratio of the audience to the authors generally decreasing as the number of authors for an episode increases. This says Nielsen is due to the increasing overlap of followers for shows with a large number of Twitter authors, where a single follower is increasingly likely to follow multiple authors.
Nielsen believes that its Twitter TV Ratings will enable TV networks to measure the full Twitter engagement surrounding their programmes, to measure the effectiveness of Twitter TV-related audience engagement strategies, and to better understand the relationship between Twitter and tune-in. Commenting on the potential of such data, Beth Rockwood, senior vice president, market resources and ad sales research at Discovery Communications, said: “We are just beginning to understand the dynamic relationship between social media and television … social media is an integral part of [viewers’] relationship with television, and that different demographics and genres behave in unique ways.”
“Social TV is transforming TV from something we watch to something we do,” added Graeme Hutton, senior vice president of research, Universal McCann. “[Twitter TV research] provides a pathway for an advertiser to turn audience energy into brand momentum. In particular, it should be valuable in developing brand activation strategies, and highlighting potential new programming areas for brands which may have previously been viewed as outside their comfort zone.”