About 32 million U.S. citizens tweeted about TV in 2012, according to a recent study by research firms SocialGuide and Nielsen.
The study found that there is a link between tweets and TV ratings. Study results show a strong correlation between Twitter activity and ratings in the 18-to-34-year-old demographic.
"While prior-year rating accounts for the lion's share of the variability in TV ratings, Twitter's presence as a top three influencer tells us that tweeting about live TV may affect program engagement," said SocialGuide CEO Andrew Somosi.
"We expected to see a correlation between Twitter and TV ratings, but this study quantifies the strength of that relationship."
The report finds that 80 percent of U.S. mobile device users check their tablet or smartphone several times a month while watching television. Another 40 percent check social media on their devices while watching TV.
In the 18-to-34-year-old demo the study found that Twitter activity directly correlates with TV rating increases. The study found that about an 8 percent increase in tweets by 18-to-34-year-olds correlates to a 1 percent jump in viewership for season premieres.
For mid-season replacements, Twitter activity also correlates to ratings. According to the study, when tweets about a mid-season replacement jump about 4 percent in the 18-to-34-year-old demo show ratings jump about 1 percent.
In the 34-to-49-year-old demo a 14 percent increase in Twitter volume corresponds to a 1 percent increase in a season premiere ratings. For mid-season replacements the numbers for the demographic show a 1 percent jump in ratings corresponds to about an 8 percent increase in Twitter volume.
"The TV industry is dynamic and it was important for us to analyze multiple variables to truly understand Twitter's impact on TV ratings," said Mike Hess, executive vice president of media analytics at Nielsen.
"While our study doesn't prove causality, the correlation we uncovered is significant and we will continue our research to deepen the industry's understanding of this relationship."
Nielsen and SocialGuide's study comes along with the news that Nielsen is set to launch the "Nielsen Twitter TV Rating" in the U.S. this fall. The offering will be the first syndicated-standard metric that examines reach of the TV discussion on Twitter.
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James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club, CachedTech.com, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.
March 19, 2014