Wait, What? The Twitter TV Ratings That Nielsen and Twitter Announced Won’t Get Included in the TV Ratings?

Categories: Internet TV,New TV Technology

Written By

March 24th, 2013

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We sometimes take it for granted that folks understand that the primary purpose of the Nielsen TV Ratings is to facilitate the sales of commercial TV advertising. That the Nielsen Ratings don't do plenty of things that many fans wish they would do, is old news. Also old news: that's because they're not supposed to do those things or designed to do them. The Nielsen Ratings are not supposed to be a popularity metric.

Why aren't iTunes, Amazon and Google Play views included in the Nielsen Ratings? Because not only do they not carry the same ads that ran on TV, they don't carry any advertising at all.

So I wanted to get out in front of the curve. The forthcoming new  “Nielsen Twitter TV Ratingwill be completely separate from the Nielsen TV Ratings. So next season if anyone asks if Arrow's overnight ratings include all the tweeting, you can definitively tell them "no!" On the plus side they will include any DVR viewing up to 3am after the telecast.

The Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings is a separate product for a mostly (arguably completely) separate purpose. Nielsen is a global market research firm that does and sells many things besides the Nielsen TV ratings. The Twitter product will be one of those other things. That product, which will measure Twitter engagement with specific programming, is aimed at helping TV networks market more efficiently on Twitter and better execute cross promotional marketing (like when your TV screen implores you to tweet about the show you're watching with a special hashtag).

We can debate about how the data will be used, but there’s no arguing about this: it won’t be counted in the Nielsen TV Ratings.

 
  • Jane Elliot

    @Josh: If another company came along and did like 100,000 households I’m sure their ratings would seem more reliable.

    Their ratings might seem more reliable. That doesn’t actually mean they are more reliable. It all depends on the quality of the sample demographic.

  • Jane Elliot

    Oh, heck. Sorry, that last comment was for Evan, not Josh (who I agree with).

  • TV Addict

    I AGREE WITH EVIL TROY AND EVIL ABED. COMMUNITY CONSISTANTLY GETS A 7.0 BUT NIELSEN HATES IT.

  • HalCapone

    While whiny fans are irrelevant to advertisers, advertising agencies, Nielsen and networks, they are probably critical to the continued relevancy of TVBTN–passionate, misguided, looney, redundant questions/comments and all. Can’t we all just get along and pretend to be at least a little civil with those whose comments we don’t agree?

  • Neeta

    Things are changing very quickly now for the tv industry. With netflix, amazon and others producing their own original programming, producing their own very accurate stats, HBO trying to get internet subscribers, accelerating cord cutting, things aren’t looking very good for the set time tv set.

    The old music industry is dead, this industry is dying too and will be replaced by on demand streaming quickly. Sooner than anyone thinks. Tons of jobs will be lost, obviously. Nielsens will not survive this.

  • Jacob

    Bill, yes the customers are the product but when you loose your customers you lose your product. It may be time to move on from market research 101. Do they still offer that course?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Bill, yes the customers are the product but when you loose your customers you lose your product. It may be time to move on from market research 101. Do they still offer that course?”

    Overall, TV viewing/person in the US is at or near an all time high.

    How does that fit your nonsense cause and effect?

  • DKD

    It’s clear to me that a lot of the people who comment about Nielsen’s sample size have never taken a statistics class in their lives.

    Seriously, take one, people.

    The people who work at Nielsen and many of their customers have doctorates in the subject.

  • tjw

    @DKD,

    To your point, a sample size of 20,000 out of a population of 110,000,000 will result in a margin of error of less than +/- 1% with a confidence level of 99%.

    Upping the sample to 100,000 will decrease the margin of error to less than +/- .5%, but is it really worth that financially to determine if a show had 4.975 million viewers instead of 4.95 million?

  • Peach

    Don’t quite understand the obsession the networks have with social media anyway. It’s really annoying when they start imploring you onscreen to tweet with a certain hashtag.

    I’m wondering how they are measuring this “Twitter TV Rating” — will one feverish fan tweeting 500 times count the same as five hundred fans tweeting once each?

  • Xerophytes

    Too late. Fringe ended already. Meh.

  • Tessa

    On the plus side they will include any DVR viewing up to 3am after the telecast.

    Is this something new or has it always been like that? I do remember it being called Live+Same Day, so why is it mentioned as a plus thing here?

  • LynTX

    Not getting the debate here; isn’t the bottom line how the networks/showrunners can capitalize on viewer #s with advertisers? And how can advertisers see potential on twitter? Where is the potential $$?

    #s for the sake of #s isn’t the point; the ratings drive ad $$ and help finance the various shows. If networks can’t make money, it is irrelevant.

  • Kyle7

    “Is this something new or has it always been like that? I do remember it being called Live+Same Day, so why is it mentioned as a plus thing here?”

    I’ve never actually seen which time zone the 3 AM part refers to. I always thought it was 3 AM Eastern, thus including the end of the day in the Pacific time zone, where there’s a lot of viewers (and if you cut it off at 12 AM ET/9 PM PT you’d miss the live numbers for the 9 and 10 pm hours). But perhaps it’s up to 3 AM in every time zone. I’ve always felt that tomorrow doesn’t really begin until sunrise, perhaps Nielsen feels along those lines as well.

  • John

    Lots of nonsense being posted here. Nielsen’s number is a sample of over 20,000 households that is startistically accurate in estimating (not measuring) the number and demographic breakdown of people watching broadcast, cable and satellite TV at a given moment. Since the sample is continuous and estimates average viewing of programs and networks, it’s not analogous to twitter tweets or views on YouTube, which are cumulative over periods of time. If you’re looking at a waterfall at 9pm, the Nielsen method is estimating how much water is going over the falls at that given moment; twitter tweets tell you how much water has gone over the waterfall since it started flowing, say, this morning, until now.
    If someone has attracted 2 million YouTube views since it was posted yesterday, that’s very different from a cable TV show that Nielsen estimates attracted 2 million viewers at any given moment last night at 9pm. It may well have attracted 8 mllion for the evening, cumulatively. Capiche?

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