Divide between ratings and tweets emerges from Nielsen and Twitter partnership

October 13, 2013

The seemingly well-suited partnership between Twitter and Nielsen, the ratings company, has hit a snag; there is barely any overlap between high-rating and the most-tweeted-about shows.

The partnership between the two companies was intended to monetize the concept of “social TV,” the idea that engagement on Twitter can affect the popularity of a series and an incentive for TV series to promote their Twitter status. Three days prior to releasing it’s IPO last Thursday, Twitter even unveiled “Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings,” a product that measures this interaction between viewership and engagement.

But according to The Mary Sue this has brought on some unexpected results, namely the fact that there is barely any overlap between the top-tweeted and top-rated TV shows. For the week of September 23rd through 29th, a comparison between TV ratings and the amount of people that could have seen a tweet about a show on their news feed showed that only The Voice overlapped between the two groups.

Generally speaking, the Twitter list included more story-focused shows i.e. Breaking Bad (9.28 million), while the list of ratings showed more populist content i.e. NFL Football: New England at Atlanta (20.49 million), The Big Bang Theory (20.44 million). Although still in its early days, this demonstrates a huge divergence between the general television viewership and people inclined to read tweets about TV shows, and a potential problem in Twitter and Nielsen’s attempt to monetize engagement.

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