There is little doubt that Twitter came out a big winner from Sunday evening’s Academy Awards telecast. Host Ellen DeGeneres snapped the Twitter pic seen around the world when she pretty much invited the worldwide audience to help her set an image retweeting record for the celebrity selfie she took with the audience of stars. It was retweeted over 3 million times.
But Twitter is arguing that in raw reach its micro-blogging service had nearly as much of an audience as the ABC telecast itself did in the U.S. About 19.1 million tweets related to the Oscars were sent between Sunday at 5 p.m. ET and Monday at 5 a.m. ET, and they were viewed over 3.3 billion times. According to a blog post from Twitter Head of Media Science Michael Fleischman early today, “more than 37 million people viewed those Tweets across Twitter.com and Twitter’s mobile and desktop applications.” Fleischman claims this reach approaches the 43.7 million Nielsen estimates were seeing the ABC telecast.
Well, equating the number of people actively watching a TV telecast with the number of people who happen to have a Twitter app or window open on a second screen is a tough comparison. Thousands of user-generated and brand-generated Tweets are scrolling across any given Twitter display at breakneck speed. The levels of engagement between the two screens are likely vastly different. And how much any one of those thousands of posts ever hits a user's eye is anyone's guess.
Still the sheer velocity and reach of Ellen’s celebrity selfie pic demonstrates that an on-air mention can move millions of people at a time to pay attention to that second screen. Twitter says that Ellen’s Tweet at least appeared (they call it “seen”) on screens for an audience of 8.1 million people. It was embedded on 13,711 Web pages that were seen another 6.8 million times. By Twitter’s calculations, that means the Ellen celebrity Tweet had combined impressions of 32.8 million.
The Ellen Tweet was also a big success for Facebook, where the image posting to DeGeneres’ page attracted over 1 million Likes. Facebook also chimed in on overall Oscar activity, and claimed 11.1 million people on its network produced 25.4 million “interactions” (including posts, comments and likes).