TV ratings measured by Twitter activity

Most media experts agree that Twitter is the key driver behind the phenomenon that is social TV. We regularly see hashtags on our TV screens infiltrating live TV broadcasts, Twitter-based voting on reality shows, and Twitter essentially being used as the “second screen” during prime time. Therefore it probably comes as no great surprise that Twitter is fast becoming a new metric in the measurement of television ratings / viewing and in particular the level of audience engagement.

Looking to capitalise on the growing trend of social TV and Twitter’s interaction, a Japanese television audience ratings service company named Video Research has recently announced that they plan to measure the volume of Twitter mentions of certain TV shows. The company will begin by measuring the volume of tweets related to programs per minute, as well as the average number of tweets sent over the previous four weeks. There are estimated 30 million registered Twitter users in Japan, which is a sizable sample for this type of data. Video Research has received Twitter’s blessing on the initiative, gaining access to Twitter’s API and hashtag streaming service.

Both Twitter and Video Research are encouraging Japanese TV-viewers to tweet about their favorite programs using official hashtags, which will make the ratings measurements more accurate. There will also be hashtags related to TV stations as well as specific TV shows.

Media buyers and TV stations throughout the world typically use viewing data in order to measure, buy and sell advertising airtime. Measuring Twitter conversations for TV programmes should encourage stations and advertisers alike to pay more attention to the conversations happening about their brands on social media and in the process possibly create a new model for the trading of television airtime.

The most Tweeted about programmes on UK television during 2011 were as follows:
The X Factor Final: Results – 346,216 Tweets
The X Factor Final: Performances – 294,767
Eurovision Song Contest – 167,184
Rafael Nadal v Novak Djokovic: Men’s Wimbledon Final – 163,218
The Only Way Is Essex: Series 4 Opener – 159,603
Take Me Out – 140,287
Jason Manford Live – 126,834
Celebrity Big Brother Live – 121,343
Sherlock: Reichenback Fall (Finale) – 120,486
Brazillian Grand Prix – 108,842
The Apprentice Live Final – 101,303

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