Television ratings ... by Twitter?
Twitter's head of television Fred Graver highlighted Twitter's importance in the social TV space and floated the idea of a Twitter-fueled ratings system at Ad Age's Social TV Conference last week.
And just this week, The Next Web reported that the ratings service Video Research in Japan is planning just that, initially by measuring Tweets-per-minute about TV shows as well as an average of the previous several weeks.
But does social media buzz translate to TV ratings? Nielsen's first social media study last year revealed that a 9 percent increase in social media chatter corresponded to a 1 percent increase in viewership among 18-49-year-olds -- and that wasn't even including Twitter. Earlier this year TV Guide released survey results in which 17 percent of viewers said they started to watch a show because of a social media impression.
And online conversations can continue long after the show airs. During Graver's speech he revealed that an unnamed competition show generated 416,000 Tweets and 25 million impressions during the airing, and 166 million throughout the week.
But while Nielsen is sometimes criticized for basing its industry-standard TV ratings on roughly .02 percent of the U.S. population, social chatter also represents only a portion of the viewing audience. The 2012 Grammy Awards, for example, were the most social TV event of all time, with 13 million comments. By contrast, there were 39 million viewers.
So is it time to ditch Nielsen and focus on social chatter? Or is the answer somewhere in between? Check out the latest edition of Freshwire's 60 Seconds of Social Media to get the latest.
Missed last week's episode on the mysterious Facebook Page reach drop? Check it out here.