I suppose you can call this the democratization of ratings, as Nielson further moves away from set-top box monitoring of audience TV-watching habits and into the future.
Today Nielson and Twitter have announced a partnership which will see the two standardizing a metric for measuring twitter engagement for TV shows as they air. Now the TV industry will have access to a stable, consistent standard by which they can measure the response their shows are getting on the social media service, and thus how much in the cutting-edge conversation they are.
This comes after a move to have their more traditional ratings system acknowledge and include Mobile viewing data, as we increasingly move to a world where the audience for a show is measured by a little ticking box under the video rather than an obscure, low-sampled number from an outdated tracking company.
What this new Tweet metric will mean for creatives and executives is unclear, though the obvious hope is that better shows with shadow audiences will be saved by the enthusiasm of their fanbases. Many will imagine a world where, say, Community never entered the cancellation bubble at all, though one wonders if this will make showrunners more slave to the whims of the public without Nielson to insulate them? Kind of a weird sentiment, but these kinds of things can turn out to be double-edged swords in unexpected ways.
Will the kinda-sorta truth set TV free? Will this merely be a way to measure and thus monetize online activity around a show with advertisers? Yeah, it’s that.
Full press release from Nielson below.
Exclusive Agreement Creates “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating,” the Definitive Reach Metric for Social TV Audience Measurement and Analytics
NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO, December 17, 2012 – Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, and Twitter today announced an exclusive multi-year agreement to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for the US market. Under this agreement, Nielsen and Twitter will deliver a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of the TV conversation on Twitter, slated for commercial availability at the start of the fall 2013 TV season.
“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. “As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data.”
“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.”
TV viewers discuss TV on Twitter, creating a new dynamic between audiences and programming. The service’s more than 140 million active users send one billion Tweets every two and a half days, the vast majority of which is public and conversational, making Twitter data a necessity in producing standardized metrics representing online and mobile conversations about television.
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.
“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.”
ABOUT THE NIELSEN TWITTER TV RATING
The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating will enhance the social TV analytics and metrics available today from SocialGuide by adding the first-ever measurement of the total audience for social TV activity – both those participating in the conversation and those who were exposed to the activity –providing the precise size of the audience and effect of social TV to TV programming.
SocialGuide, recently acquired by Nielsen and NM Incite, currently captures Twitter TV activity for all U.S. programming across 234 TV channels in English and Spanish, and more than 36,000 programs. Through a sophisticated classification process, SocialGuide matches Tweets to TV programs to offer key social TV metrics including the number of unique Tweets associated with a given program and rankings for the most social TV programs.
Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com and follow @nielsenwire.
Founded in 2006, Twitter is a real-time information service on which people around the world can post ideas, comments and news, plus photos and videos, in 140 characters or less. The service can be accessed through a variety of methods, including Twitter.com, text messaging, and desktop, mobile, and web applications. Twitter is available in more than 33 languages. Visit www.twitter.com or follow @twitter for more information.