Nielsen and Twitter Partner for Social Media TV Ratings

Twitter Logo 2011

Twitter Logo 2011

The eternally sticky question of how to most accurately measure TV viewership and audience engagement may be a little clearer this time next year. Nielsen and Twitter announced Monday that they're partnering on a new industry standard metric that will gauge penetration based entirely on data from the popular micro-blogging website and social network.

“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 Nielsen president of global media products and advertiser solutions Steve Hasker. “As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data.”

Online streaming, OnDemand and time-shifted viewing have all altered the way television is consumed by audiences -- and as those methods have changed, Nielsen's traditional ratings system has seen a significant drop in the numbers most important to broadcasters and advertisers.

The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, expected to launch in time for the 2013 fall season, is intended to serve as a complement to Nielsen's existing system as a means to understand social activity. The ratings will build on top of NM Incite’s SocialGuide audience engagement analytics platform, a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Co.

“Our users love the shared experience of watching television while engaging with other viewers and show talent," said Twitter VP of media Chloe Sladden. "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. 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.”

The network response has thus far been a positive one, with Fox Networks Group Chairman and CEO Peter Rice chiming in on the announcement.

“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 Rice. "Combining the instant feedback of Twitter with Nielsen ratings will benefit us, program producers, and our advertising partners.”