Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Fight to Win the SocialTV Battle

 Discussion/debate about Twitter and Facebook usage on the second screens while watching TV around the blogosphere has been at all time highs recently.  What seems somewhat clear is that socialTV is helping to push viewers back to live viewing in an age when DVRs and on-demand programming have pushed down ratings. "It's a great symbiotic relationship where we drive the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, and that viral conversation drives people back to watch our shows," said Viacom chief Philippe Dauman in an interview with Bloomberg. He offered up MTV's recent Video Music Awards as a prime example, a show that generated 18.5 million tweets (personally I thought that was do to Miley Cryus's foam finger and twerking but I'll give them that). The topic is getting even more hype do to the very open efforts by both Facebook's and Twitter as they clammer for the attention of TV networks and producers. At the end of September Facebook announced it would start sharing weekly data reports with ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS. The "big data" being shared includes the number of likes, comments and shares TV episodes get on the social network.
Yesterday the antisipated unveiling of Nielsen and Twitter first list of TV show rankings and ironically there was little connection between most watched shows and most talked about shows. Twitter reported Breaking Bad took the most tweets for the week of Sept. 23-29 while the top primetime show in total viewers was actually NBC's NFL Football: New England at Atlanta. The only show that did appear in both top ten lists for the week was The Voice, which ranked number two on Twitter's list and number eight and nine on the primetime rankings.

Initial analysis of TV activity shows that the entire Twitter TV audience for per episode is, on average, 50 times larger than the authors. If, for example, 2,000 people are tweeting about a program, 100,000 people are seeing those Tweets. Those 100,000 aren’t necessarily viewers of that particular TV episode. Nielsen notes that Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings are a separate set of metrics to traditional National TV Ratings. They do not change traditional National TV Ratings. But many believe they will complement each other.  To me this sounds like typical audience inflation many have debated with Nielsen data for years. The numbers are however one chooses to interpret them however the questions the advertisers need to ask is, are the RIGHT people seeing this stuff and are they buying anything?

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