Television has always been a social medium, and networks right around the world understand that conversation on Twitter combined with their content can be powerful. The recent announcement that Nielsen is bringing Twitter TV Ratings to Australia is an exciting opportunity to measure this conversation in a dynamic way that complements the existing TV ratings system. Now, for the first time, this social soundtrack to television can be measured in real time as the program unfolds.
Television ratings have historically been based on eyeballs alone with an assumption that our audiences are 100% engaged with the show, and the advertising around it, as long as the TV is on and despite the many distractions that now exist in our day-to-day lives.
In an Australian first, Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings (NTTR) will provide partners the opportunity to truly measure the engagement around shows by measuring total activity (Tweets, unique authors) and reach (impressions, unique audience) of TV-related conversation on Twitter.
There’s never been a better time to bring this metric to market.
According to Nielsen, 45% of Australian Twitter users engage with our platform while watching television. And of this sample, three out of four are dual-screening their favourite show by either clicking on a hashtag or trend to see what other people are tweeting (76%), searching manually (73%) or tweeting about the show themselves (73%).
And as a result of this behaviour four out of the five most tweeted days of 2013 were driven by TV events such as The X Factor (#XFactorAU), Australia’s Got Talent (#GotTalentAU) and Dancing with the Stars (#DancingAU).
This fast-growing behaviour is great news for networks and advertisers. Why? Because in markets where the NTTR is already live — such as the US — research finds that viewers who tweet-along to television are more attractive to advertisers than their TV-only counterparts.
For example, according to Symphony Advanced Media, TVxTwitter viewers are less likely to tune away during the ad breaks than TV-only viewers with only 8% of them doing it versus 17% of the latter.
Furthermore, according to Millward Brown Digital, TVxTwitter viewers are more likely to recall TV advertising (53% vs 40%), have higher lift in brand favorability (18% vs 7%) and a higher lift in purchase intent (30% vs 16%).
This data demonstrates the value Twitter brings to television audiences, networks and advertisers and the NTTR will be the perfect tool to measure that value in real time.
While this will be undoubtedly good news for some of Australia’s highest rating and most engaging shows — such as “My Kitchen Rules” (#MKR) and “The Block” (#TheBlock) — by looking at NTTR data in the US we can see that the most-tweeted shows of Fall 2013 span across multiple genres and networks — including cable.
So while shows like #TheWalkingDead, #AmericanHorrorStory and #Catfish may not deliver the same reach as a prime-time entertainment format, they have disproportionately high levels of engagement and therefore offer strong value to advertisers.
Back in Australia we’re already seeing networks like @ArenaTV on @Foxtel embrace this opportunity by launching highly social TV shows such as “Real Housewives of Melbourne” (#RHOMelbourne) with strong Twitter integrations through on-air Tweets, bespoke hashtags and talent tweeting along.
The result is that on the same night #RHOMelbourne generates up to 50% of the same level of conversation as #MKR and up to 75% of the same level of conversation as #TheBlock despite having only a third of the reach of both shows.
The announcement of the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings coming to Australia is an opportunity to enhance how we measure television using one common benchmark to measure the social engagement of programming in a way that complements traditional TV ratings.
Most excitingly, it’s an opportunity to innovate and measure a whole new wave of TVxTwitter integrations that give added value to networks and advertisers while making watching TV with Twitter better than ever.
Did someone say … cookies?