The fact that Kantar figures have revealed the X Factor is far and away the most tweeted-about show in the UK does not come as a surprise, nor does "Celebrity Big Brother" and "Britain's Got Talent" making up the top three.
The really significant fact for me was that television shows now account for 40 percent of peak-time tweeting. Second-screening isn't just big -- it's massive!
It begs the next big question, however -- what's it worth? Does all of this attention actually mean anything?
In the digital age attention is what drives revenue -- but when you think about it, these people are almost certainly already watching the show they're tweeting about. So you already have their attention. Is there anything in it for a TV show or their sponsors to be top of the bill in that evening's second-screening activity?
It's a tricky one because this summer's World Cup showed how easy it was for brands to jump on conversations that people were having about the action without having to fork out tens of millions to be a sponsor. It surely has to be the same for television shows. A brand that is not associated with the television shows could just as easily talk about who's singing on a show or who should be evicted from a house of celebrities that nobody has heard of.
With "X Factor" this may be partially answered through the show having a lucrative deal to have its app sponsored by Dominos. If tweets are coming through the show's app, then the sponsor is obviously being delivered a lot of attention and surely delivering a whole lot of pizzas at the same time. No doubt the same will be true of the next sponsor of the app for "Britain's Got Talent" when it reappears next year.
Finding the commercial advantage for all this activity is harder to see in other shows, however. It may well be used as an indication to sponsoring brands that a programme has a lot of attention -- but then that's what viewing figures on television are for, aren't they? And by saying how many people are tweeting, doesn't it follow that these people are less focussed on the adverts during the break or the ident which signifies the show is entering or leaving an ad break?
Having millions of tweets about a show is obviously great for its creators and can show sponsors that it's a social hit as well as a top TV programme. However, nobody owns hashtags, so presumably the commercial advantage goes to the show's own Twitter page or to a wide range of advertisers looking to reach out to followers of that show who want to know they're active right now on Twitter, and so worth attempting to engage with through a promoted tweet.
Second-screening's future almost certainly has to be to follow the X Factor and Britain's Got Talent route to prompt viewers to open the app to join in the conversation about acts on Twitter, via a sponsored experience.
The only other alternative is to have accounts that bear the name of the sponsor -- such as @DominosXFactor -- but then that wouldn't really work because sponsors change? Maybe a hashtag, such as #dominosxfactor or #dominosbestact might suffice?
To my mind, the only way TV shows and their sponsors are going to turn millions of tweets in to something beneficial is through apps that elicit conversations and allow people to tweet about the show as it happens.
In other words, the brand, and not the destination social site, has to be the second screen.