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 Rating” will 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.