Twitter and Nielsen launch a new social TV rating metric

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Social TV just got more interesting with a new partnership between Twitter and Nielsen. The “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for the US market will allow Nielsen and Twitter to deliver a metric for gauging TV conversation reach on the social network.

The more popular Twitter gets the more entrenched into everyday life it becomes. Audiences are making the social network a key part of their viewing habits, discussing shows, characters and plot lines as they air. Reality television is growing more popular on social networks, creating an online community around such programs. It seems Twitter and Nielsen want to measure all that chatter.

“The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating is 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,” said Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. “As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data.”

The new metric measures the social media activity of a television show audience, using SocialGuide, a technology acquired by Nielsen that tracks Twitter activity for more than 36 000 programs. It supposedly identifies how many tweets are associated with a show and gathers data about the conversation.

“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,” said Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media. “This effort 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.”

According to Nielsen this new rating will serve to complement its existing TV ratings, giving TV networks and advertisers the real-time metrics required to understand TV audience social activity. These ratings will build on top of NM Incite’s SocialGuide audience engagement analytics platform. NM Incite is a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Co., and the hub of Nielsen’s social media analytics efforts.

Twitter currently has more than 140-million active users that send one billion tweets every two and a half days. The vast majority of tweets are public and conversational, making Twitter data a necessity in producing standardised metrics that represent online and mobile conversations about TV.

The service will be commercially available at the start of the US fall 2013 TV season.

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