Nielsen: Twitter Can Improve TV Viewing Forecasts

Provides ‘Additional Signal’ For Predicting Audience Size
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Twitter TV activity provides an “additional signal” that could be used with other factors to forecast the audience sizes of premiere shows, Nielsen said, citing a study conducted last fall that evaluated activity on the social network ahead of dozens of fresh TV shows. 

For the study, Nielsen analyzed 42 broadcast and cable series premieres (including English- and Spanish-language programming) from late August through early November on a 24/7 basis and looked for correlations between how many times viewers in the 18-34 age group saw TV promotions for a specific program and the size of that program’s audience for the premiere episode.

While shows that were promoted heavily among that group got expected stronger ratings during their premieres, Twitter TV activity correlated to those premieres can play a role in predicting the size of the audience, Nielsen claimed.

And without including Twitter TV data in the study, Nielsen said it confirmed that programs that were promoted more substantially saw higher premiere audiences. “To be truly useful then, Twitter TV activity would need to tell an additional story on top of what we already know from promotions alone,” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said the findings are notable because it showed that Twitter TV activity could be used alongside other data sources to determine TV audiences, which, in turn, can help agencies “fine-tune their buys before the premieres.”

“Networks could identify potential winners and challenges earlier to maximize ad sales and course-correct marketing activities,” Nielsen added. 

In a study released late last year, Nielsen said that most (68%) Twitter TV-related traffic takes place during live airing windows – a period of three hours before and three hours after the live broadcast.