Nielsen and Twitter Team Up…But For What Exactly?

Nielsen and Twitter announced a new deal today…

Nielsen and Twitter Establish Social TV Rating

Exclusive Agreement Creates “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating,” the Definitive Reach Metric for Social TV Audience Measurement and Analytics

NEW YORK and SAN FRANCISCO, December 17, 2012 – Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy, and Twitter today announced an exclusive multi-year agreement to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for the US market. Under this agreement, Nielsen and Twitter will deliver a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of the TV conversation on Twitter, slated for commercial availability at the start of the fall 2013 TV season.

“The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating is a significant step forward for the industry, particularly as programmers develop increasingly captivating live TV and new second-screen experiences, and advertisers create integrated ad campaigns that combine paid and earned media,” said Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. “As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data.”

“Our users love the shared experience of watching television while engaging with other viewers and show talent. Twitter has become the world’s digital water cooler, where conversations about TV happen in real time. Nielsen is who the networks rely on to give better content to viewers and clearer results to marketers,” said Chloe Sladden, Twitter’s vice president of media. “This effort reflects Nielsen’s foresight into the evolving nature of the TV viewing experience, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with Twitter ecosystem partners on this metric to help broadcasters and advertisers create truly social TV experiences.”

TV viewers discuss TV on Twitter, creating a new dynamic between audiences and programming. The service’s more than 140 million active users send one billion Tweets every two and a half days, the vast majority of which is public and conversational, making Twitter data a necessity in producing standardized metrics representing online and mobile conversations about television.

The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating will serve to complement Nielsen’s existing TV ratings, giving TV networks and advertisers the real-time metrics required to understand TV audience social activity. These ratings will build on top of NM Incite’s SocialGuide audience engagement analytics platform. NM Incite is a joint venture between Nielsen and McKinsey & Co., and the hub of Nielsen’s social media analytics efforts.

“The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has generated a substantial ‘connected’ TV audience that is simultaneously watching television and accessing the Internet through these devices. This, in turn, will continue to create the opportunity for content providers like CBS to offer engaging interactive features for our viewers. As this form of viewer engagement evolves into a mainstream activity, it presents ways for CBS to enhance the viewing experience for our viewers and our advertisers. We are already engaged with Nielsen and Twitter in a program of research and experimentation in this exciting new area,” said David F. Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation. “We are pleased to see Nielsen and Twitter join together to provide a comprehensive measurement system that will allow us to employ these social networking tools to their full advantage.”

“Twitter is a powerful messenger and a lot of fun for fans of our shows, providing them with the opportunity to engage, connect and voice their opinions directly to each other and us,” said Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO, Fox Networks Group. “Combining the instant feedback of Twitter with Nielsen ratings will benefit us, program producers, and our advertising partners.”

ABOUT THE NIELSEN TWITTER TV RATING The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating will enhance the social TV analytics and metrics available today from SocialGuide by adding the first-ever measurement of the total audience for social TV activity – both those participating in the conversation and those who were exposed to the activity –providing the precise size of the audience and effect of social TV to TV programming.

SocialGuide, recently acquired by Nielsen and NM Incite, currently captures Twitter TV activity for all U.S. programming across 234 TV channels in English and Spanish, and more than 36,000 programs. Through a sophisticated classification process, SocialGuide matches Tweets to TV programs to offer key social TV metrics including the number of unique Tweets associated with a given program and rankings for the most social TV programs.

There’s an awful lot of hype here but I’m not seeing a lot of substance. The SocialGuide metric cited above seems to be well suited for the noisier end of the signal to noise ratio. What’s the context? Just that a show got mentioned? We don’t know. More importantly we’ll never know because the mechanics of this will remain shrouded in a veil of Nielsen secrecy. That right there is the biggest reason not to buy into it. I suspect this service will have a hard time finding willing buyers in the advertiser space. They are already leery enough of Nielsen’s TV ratings service and whether their commercials are being watched. Twitter is an even dicier thing to quantify meaningfully. Many have tried. Speaking of trial and error…anyone notice that Mediaite’s much hyped at launch Power Grid is no longer prominently featured on its main page?

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One Response to “Nielsen and Twitter Team Up…But For What Exactly?”

  1. I saw something today on Fox Business that they are buying Arbitron – a pretty interesting deal to say the least. I find that a more interesting story giving how much possibilities they could do with the two entities. Like getting rid of the old “people meter” and replace it with Arbitron’s portable people meter/PPM. I find it interesting.

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