More Twitter Chatter Correlates to Higher TV Ratings, Study Reveals
A new study reveals that more Twitter chatter correlates to higher television ratings.
By analyzing tweets about live TV, Nielsen and SocialGuide found that Twitter is one of three "statistically significant variables" to influence ratings. The other two factors are a show's ratings from the previous year and advertising spending.
"While prior-year rating accounts for the lion's share of the variability in TV ratings, Twitter's presence as a top three influencer tells us that tweeting about live TV may affect program engagement," said Andrew Somosi, CEO of SocialGuide, an analytics service that co-led the study with Neilsen. "We expected to see a correlation between Twitter and TV ratings, but this study quantifies the strength of that relationship."
Research confirmed that increases in Twitter volume correlate to a boost in television ratings among different age groups; this proved especially true among younger viewers. For 18 to 24 year olds, an 8.5% jump in Twitter volume corresponds to a 1% increase in TV ratings for premiere episodes. Whereas, among 35 to 49 year olds, a 14% rise in Twitter volume corresponds to a 1% ratings increase. (See the below chart for full results, including analysis of midseason episodes.)
The strong relationship between Twitter and TV ratings is largely because people are consuming media across multiple devices, Nielsen said Wednesday in a release. According to the company, 40% of American smartphone and tablet users log onto a social network when watching television, while 80% of those users who watch TV use their device while channel-surfing "several times a month."
It's important to note, however, that while the study established a correlation between Twitter and TV ratings, it does not prove causality.