Twitter activity and TV ratings enjoy a symbiotic relationship, new research from Nielsen suggests.
Figures from the TV ratings collator suggest that ratings for live shows benefit from tweeting and tweets increase while live shows are broadcast.
The finding is based on minute-to-minute trends in live TV ratings and tweets for 221 prime-time episodes. Nielsen found that live TV ratings had a “meaningful impact in related tweets among 48% of the episodes sampled”. The volume of tweets caused significant changes in live TV ratings for 29% of the episodes.
Reality shows gained most from Twitter activity.
Nielsen said its Twitter Causation Study research was the first to establish a link between ratings and tweets.
Chief research officer Paul Donato said: “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.”
He added: “This rigorous, research-based approach provides our clients and the media industry with a better understanding of the interplay between Twitter and broadcast TV viewing.”
Twitter chief operating officer Ali Rowghani said: “These results substantiate what many of our TV partners have been telling us anecdotally for years: namely, that Twitter drives tune-in, especially for live, linear television programming. As the world’s preeminent real-time social communication medium, Twitter is a complementary tool for broadcasters to engage their audience, drive conversation about their programming, and increase tune-in.”
Twitter has more than 200 million monthly active users.