Measuring Link Between TV And Social Media

Some TV executives have seen a big connection between social media and TV program engagement. Still, you can find many critics dismissing what impact social media can have on TV viewing, saying that the majority of content is coming from a skewed source -- just millennials.

In a recent study, Nielsen didn’t focus on the demo of social media users. But it did measure average Twitter activity for new episodes of 457 English- and Spanish-language prime-time series programs. It found that eight program characteristics — whether a show was broadcast or cable, drama or non-drama, etc. --  “proved to be statistically significant” in determining “the average volume of program-related Tweets sent each week for any given program,” according to the study.

According to the model, it might be able to determine, for example: How much social activity should there be for a one-hour broadcast drama that averages a live TV audience of 3 million people each week?



Nielsen didn’t answer that question -- nor did it go into detail about specific shows covered. It would be good to see the results not just for younger-skewing shows that register big social media results, but older-skewing shows, like “The Good Wife” or “Dancing with the Stars.

Other questions arise: What about high social media engagement for a low-rated traditional TV show? Are these users necessarily worth more to marketers? Could they be worth less?

TV executives will continue to hone social media data, but things will change -- perhaps soon. It will be important to analyze aging millennials -- now long familiar with social media -- going forward.

Analysts would like to believe social media could be a representative, real-time measure of how TV shows are performing. But there is still a long ways to go, especially considering what kinds of specific users/viewers are active.

3 comments about "Measuring Link Between TV And Social Media".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 19, 2015 at 3:17 p.m.

    It is likely too obvious to gauge older-skewing shows with a younger-skewing social media tool. Even more obvious is that millennials won't be young forever.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 19, 2015 at 3:42 p.m.

    It doesn't necesarily follow that the volume of tweeting about a particular telecast is absolutely predictive of its national appeal----but, as I pointed out in another discussion on the subject, were I in charge of programming at a TV network or cable channel, I would certainly look at such data. In reality, the actual number of tweets per telecast is fairly small---a few exceptions duly noted----and most of the tweeters are under 40, with better educations----which, in most cases, makes them aytpical.

    It may still be that such data has predictive values---regarding trends in appeal and audience forecasting----but tweets are not even close to being a substitute for the ratings and other long-established anayltical disciplines. They are merely an interesting research add-on.

  3. brian ring from ring digital llc, May 21, 2015 at 4:10 p.m.

    It's important to recognize that Social TV has an important link to OTT near-live consumption as well as live TV tune-in. While the live clipping market has been slower to develop than I might have predicted a couple of years ago, clips from in-process live shows have surely provided a boost to live tune-in but also plenty of near-live views that are just as valuable. The numbers are small today but the Periscope & Meerkat phenomena are proving out a radically new model for driving tune-in as well. We run a consumer tracking survey on this topic, search for the "SocialTV Index" to find it.

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