Twitter and Nielsen team up for new social TV ratings system

By Daniel S Levine,

Nielsen has found a new, creative way to track what people are watching and what shows they like to talk about. The research firm, which has already created the standard ratings system that most networks rely on, has teamed up with Twitter to track the conversation of TV shows online.

The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating will start during the Fall 2013 TV season, the two companies announced Monday. Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen, called it a “significant step forward for the industry particularly as programmers develop increasingly captivating live TV and new second-screen experiences, and advertisers create integrated ad campaigns that combine paid and earned media.” He added, “As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, the new system is not meant to replace the traditional ratings system that has been used for decades. Rather, it will give the networks and advertisers “the real-time metrics required to understand TV audience social activity.”

Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media, explained, “Our users love the shared experience of watching television while engaging with other viewers and show talent. Twitter has become the world's digital water cooler, where conversations about TV happen in real time. Nielsen is who the networks rely on to give better content to viewers and clearer results to marketers.” She added that the agreement “reflects Nielsen's foresight into the evolving nature of the TV viewing experience, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Twitter ecosystem partners on this metric to help broadcasters and advertisers create truly social TV experiences.”

In the companies’ announcement, CBS and Fox expressed immediate pleasure with the idea. David F. Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation, said that it will allow CBS to “enhance the viewing experience for our viewers and our advertisers.”

Fox CEO Peter Rice added, “Combining the instant feedback of Twitter with Nielsen ratings will benefit us, program producers, and our advertising partners.”

Twitter currently boats 140 million users and claims that one billion tweets are sent every two and a half days.



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