Cable Scores in Twitter-TV Ranks


It’s nearly a month into Nielsen’s new Twitter- TV ratings, and it looks like cable programs are beginning to regularly occupy the top positions on the weekly charts.

After ABC’s Scandal topped Nielsen’s initial Twitter-TV ratings chart for the week of Sept. 30, the top shows drawing the biggest unique audience have been cable shows. (Nielsen defines “unique audience” as the total number of distinct Twitter accounts accruing at least one impression of one or more different tweets ascribed to a TV episode.) AMC’s Oct. 13 episode of zombie series The Walking Dead took top honors for the week of Oct. 7, while BET’s Oct. 15 Hip Hop Awards special was No. 1 for the week of Oct. 14.

During the week of Oct. 21, cable posted the top five shows on the weekly Twitter-TV ratings chart, with ABC Family’s Oct. 22 Pretty Little Liars Halloween episode finishing with 6.3 million Twitter uniques. The Oct. 27 episode of The Walking Dead; VH1’s Oct. 21 biopic CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story; the Oct. 23 edition of FX’s American Horror Story: Coven; and the Oct. 22 premiere of ABC Family mystery/drama series Ravenswood all finished above NBC’s competition series The Voice.

What that all means in the grand TV scheme is anyone’s guess. While the Pretty Little Liars special finished atop the Nielsen Twitter-TV ratings charts, its Nielsen-rated 3.1 million total viewers barely finished among the top 25 most-watched shows on cable for the week.

Pretty Little Liars viewers may have more social-media savvy than Duck Dynasty viewers — Pretty Little Liars drew nearly 5 million more unique Twitter views during the week than Duck Dynasty — but the hit A&E reality show averaged 5 million more total viewers than Liars.

Even Nielsen president of global product leadership Steve Hasker said at last week’s NYC Television Week conference that the initial data from the Twitter-TV ratings chart — and its correlation with actual Nielsen viewership numbers — “poses some interesting questions.”

Given the results of the first few weeks, it looks like cable programming will lead the speculation over the impact of the Nielsen-Twitter ratings.