Want to Help Your Favorite Show Get Better Ratings? Start Tweeting … Maybe!

Can Twitter Chatter Help TV Ratings?  Maybe.

Can Twitter Chatter Help TV Ratings? Maybe.

I just wrote about the announcement show on the BBC for the 12th Doctor, which was ‘must see TV’ for my younger son. But unlike when my wife and I sit down to watch TV, where we set our phones on the end tables or coffee table; for him the first thing my son does is grab his phone and open up Twitter. Once there, he gets involved with pre-show chatter, right into the announcement itself, and then post-show follow-up.

According to a new Nielson study reported at TheNextWeb, this is exactly the sort of situation where ‘Twitter Chatter’ helps a show gain more critical momentum and can help with viewership as well. Nielson is saying there is a “two-way causal influence between Twitter activity and TV viewership”, and Twitter says:

It’s significant because, for the first time, Nielson is pointing out that conversation can be measured and now TV networks can begin to get credit for the conversation around their shows,” says Twitter’s head of TV Fred Graver saying in an interview with CNBC. “And they, they can begin to make money off of the, the conversation around their shows on Twitter.”

In real terms, the data are not terribly conclusive, but there is at least evidence that for some shows there is a significant correlation between increased viewership and Twitter activity. The study states that 29% of the time there is a significant impact. Of course, the question remains whether there is more activity because a show is better and therefore more people are already watching, or because those watching and tweeting bring in more viewers.

Either way, I think it is fair to say that there are certain shows — certainly live contest and reality shows and those appealing to a Twitter demographic — for which there is a symbiotic relationship. It is also true that for shows that appeal to older viewers — like the classic ‘Murder She Wrote’ demographic — or sit-coms, there will be less cross-talk.

What do you find? When you watch, do you also tweet? Or does Twitter activity ever cause you to switch on a show?

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