Interpublic's Magna: TV Tweets Are The New Zaps

TV viewers tweet much more during commercial time than program time -- contradicting an earlier study of the activity.

A new Magna Global study shows viewers posted 21% more tweets per minute during commercial minutes compared to program minutes. The research also says the rate of tweeting in commercial time rises as the total number of tweets (in program and commercial time) increases.

For example, Magna says that for TV shows with 50,000 or more tweets, 27% more tweeting occurred during commercial minutes. Conversely, TV shows with 5,000 or fewer total tweets yielded a 5% lower rate of rate of tweeting per minute in commercial minutes than during program time.

This may not be entirely bad news. Brian Hughes, senior vice president of audience analysis practice lead for Magna Global, writes: “The fact that programs with less Twitter activity had fewer tweets during commercial time may be an indication that those viewers are more attentive.”

Hughes concludes: “In general though, we have to disagree with Nielsen’s conclusion that less tweeting happens during commercials.”

Magna says its research comes from sampling of prime-time telecasts similar in size to research from Nielsen’s SocialGuide service -- 60 programs, consisting of scripted dramas, sitcoms, and unscripted shows in roughly the same proportion that they appear on air.  

By downloading all of the individual tweets related to each telecast, Magna says it aligned time stamps to corresponding minutes within the airing. It used Nielsen TV data to determine which minutes contained commercial content and which did not



2 comments about "Interpublic's Magna: TV Tweets Are The New Zaps".
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  1. Jim Poh from pohmedia, November 6, 2013 at 5:29 p.m.

    Maybe people have more to say about the ads than the programs? It certainly would be good if that were the case.

  2. Bobby Calise from Horizon Media, Inc., November 7, 2013 at 9:22 a.m.

    This is a lot more intuitive than the earlier research. How many of us are checking our phones in the idle seconds/minutes of any activity? Why wouldn't that hold true for TV? Besides, I would think A) less tweeting would occur during the program (you'd miss stuff) and B) a lot of the "tweet-worthy" moments in a show are probably happening right as they cut to commercial.

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