System aims to measure TV tweet audience

Dawn C. Chmielewski / Los Angeles Times /

Published Oct 8, 2013 at 05:00AM

In a move that reflects the deepening connection between television and social media, Nielsen has introduced a new type of ratings system that seeks to measure the audience for TV-related conversations on Twitter.

The new Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings will take into account not only the people commenting on a TV episode, but also the broader universe of people exposed to those tweets. The measurement firm’s analysis found that the average Twitter audience for a show such as NBC’s singing competition “The Voice” is 50 times greater than the number of people tweeting.

Twitter has emerged as a virtual water cooler, where viewers gather to discuss in real time the events unfolding on TV — be it the finale of AMC’s Emmy Award-winning drama “Breaking Bad” or a high-profile sporting event such as the Super Bowl.

Some 19 million people in the U.S. produced 263 million tweets about TV in the second quarter this year, a 38 percent increase in volume of comments from a year earlier, Nielsen reported.