Twitter a driver for television ratings, study finds

That's the word from Nielsen, which found that the more Twitter activity there is surrounding a show, the higher its ratings. At the same time, the Nielsen study showed that popular shows spawn tweets.


There's a direct causation between Twitter usage and TV show ratings, a study from Nielsen has found.

The company revealed in findings released Tuesday that 29 percent of the 221 shows it analyzed showed "statistically significant changes" in live ratings because of a heavier volume of tweets. Conversely, 48 percent of the episodes it evaluated showed a similar "significant" impact on tweets when a show was particularly popular.

"Using time series analysis, we saw a statistically significant causal influence indicating that a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of Tweets, and, conversely, a spike in Tweets can increase tune-in," Paul Donato, chief research officer at Nielsen, said in a statement.

Nielsen's findings corroborate what many people have postulated for quite some time: Twitter is playing an important role in the overall popularity of television shows. However, the company's research has now quantified how more tweets can lead to higher TV ratings.

Not surprisingly, Twitter was quick to celebrate the findings. Company COO Ali Rowghani said today in a statement that his company's platform has become a "complementary tool for broadcasters...[to] increase tune-in."

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