Nielsen and Twitter announced a new metric to measure the popularity of television shows, based on social conversations. A strategic tool for the TV networks to develop more social and interactive experiences.

Social networks like Twitter have become one of the primary places online where television viewers comment the shows they’re watching – especially in real time. For this reason, being able to analyze social conversations is critical for television networks, content providers and advertisers. Gauging viewership or engagement by following this stream can provide additional information on how viewers consume content. At least, this is what Nielsen and Twitter believe, as they just announced the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating,” a new metric, and a result of an exclusive multi-year agreement between the information and insights provider and Twitter. This syndicated-standard metric will be available at the beginning of Fall 2013’s TV season, concerning itself with the reach of TV conversation on Twitter.

Analyzing Twitter commentary to power more social and interactive TV

Live TV events and second screen experiences have become increasingly popular, and have brought new types of integrated ad campaigns. Sharing the experience with other viewers and show talent is a valuable experience for fans. With its 140 million active users who send one billion Tweets every two and a half days, Twitter represents one of the most critical channels of social conversations about television shows. The Nielsen Twitter Rating is meant to offer a valuable way to respond to these trends. Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen explains: “As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data.”

The rating could provide insight into how to scale social TV as it becomes mainstream

Nielsen plans to approach the Twitter rating as complementary to their existing TV ratings, a real-time metric that will help TV networks and advertisers better understand their social audience. While currently a new way of interacting with TV content, the industry expects the activity to become more mainstream, especially with increased ownership of smartphones and tablets. In turn, interactive features will become more prevalent, as well as more beneficial for networks and advertisers. As CBS Corp’s Chief Research Officer, David F. Poltrack considers that the Nielsen Twitter measurement system “will allow us to employ these social networking tools to their full advantage.”