The buzz about Twitter, TV, and Nielsen

What is Twitter for TV ?

Historically, TV viewers have always liked to discuss and debate about TV shows. People always talked about that particular cricket shot, actor, and that movie scene as they watched TV in their drawing rooms. But, the discussion was traditionally limited (geographically) to people inside the room. Twitter for TV allows you to tweet your ‘talk’ as you watch the show and thereby it transforms ‘TV watching’ into a social and an interactive experience.

Twitter arrived at this idea from its past data that TV shows are one of the most tweeted and followed on Twitter. Surely, from Twitter’s point of view the initiative makes a lot of sense. ‘Twitter for TV’ brings social interaction to traditional one-sided TV watching experience. Twitter for TV is in India too and is currently available through Airtel. Globally, Twitter for TV has been a big success from a point of view of the amount of buzz, and experts say that social-tv could be the next big bubble. Currently, Twitter is earning only a few tens of million dollars from the TV association. But certainly, TV is the most exciting space to watch out for as different technologies and companies are converging at this spot in search of the big-ticket revenues.

Video: Exciting data visual of Twitter for TV


What is the value of this ‘Twitter for TV’ Buzz?

It is not very clear how this platform will be used and how this platform will evolve in the future. But, following are some of the key advantages that Twitter for TV brings to table.

1.    The Buzz might bring incremental number of viewers for a TV program

Twitter says that there has been a strong correlation between the increase in the number of live tweets and the increase in the number of viewers for a TV program. Hence, it is partly assumed that there are a set of viewers that are watching the show after looking at the tweets about a show. But, it is yet to be measured to a stage where we can isolate and quantify the number of viewers who switched on the TV (or other devices) after watching the tweet. It will be an extremely powerful data-point for Twitter to understand the impact of this platform.

2.    Broadcasters and TV production houses get real-time feedback about their programs

Broadcasters receive huge real-time data about their content and this helps them to change their content accordingly. But, this is something that is available without this platform too and hence I am not very sure if this is a critical advantage for the broadcasters.

3.    Provides better ad-targeting and drive brand-engagement with targeted TV viewers

As Twitter knows the people tweeting about a TV show, advertisers can use Twitter to:

  • understand the customer intention about products and brands
  • drive engagement with specific target segments during and post the telecast.
  • understand which shows are the target audience interested in, and in turn optimize media plans.

This is where Twitter is making its biggest bet as the next big advertising platform. However, the benefits for marketers using this platform as an engagement driver are not very clear yet. Marketers must develop unique and relevant content to derive value from this platform.

Nielsen caters to the need for a measurement of this platform

The huge buzz created by this platform led to a need to measure the social buzz around TV. The market research leader, Nielsen, launched its first measurement tool – Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings. Currently, the ratings provide the below four metrics for the TV show:

  • Tweets – Number of tweets corresponding to a linear TV episode.
  • Unique Authors – Number of unique twitter accounts that have sent atleast one tweet for the specific episode.
  • Impressions – Number of times any tweets corresponding to a TV episode were seen
  • Unique Audience – Number of distinct twitter accounts accruing atleast one impression of one or more different tweets for a TV episode

Though this initiative may not be a great source of revenue, it is a strategic win-win partnership for both Nielsen and Twitter as Nielsen gains edge on social measurement and Twitter gains the credibility from the TV ratings major.