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Nielsen Study Shows Twitter Boosts Time-Shifting TV Viewership
Ratings company finds a 10% increase in Twitter impressions corresponds with a 1.8% bump in after-the-live-show viewing.
As live TV audiences shrink, the television industry is scrambling to refine success metrics. One such new measure is the +7 audience, the added viewership during the seven-day window after a show airs. It can be a significant number; Nielsen reports that some networks are seeing more than 50% of their 18-34 aged viewership coming in the +7 time period.
So how can networks prime the +7 pump? One way, according to research published today by Nielsen is social media, specifically Twitter. Nielsen found a 10% increase in Twitter impressions about programs corresponded to a 1.8% bump in post-live-show viewership. Nielsen found the increase after accounting for 10 other variables that effect the size of the delayed audience, including the top factor, the size of the live audience.
The influence was most pronounced for shows that had higher social activity; such shows had audiences 36% larger than live, while shows with low social activity had +7 audiences 16% higher than the live.
Nielsen explained the significance of its findings in a release:
These analyses have two big implications for the industry. First, networks gain insight into their delayed audiences and how to grow them. Second, they help explain how much impact social media has on delayed TV viewing today.
“We are aware from our work with the ARF that exposure to TV Tweets drives consumers to take action,” said Judit Nagy, Vice President of Analytics, FOX. “And these recent findings further demonstrate an undiscovered opportunity in social word of mouth during and around live programming. For FOX programs, we see a relationship between ratings and a program’s social share of voice, demonstrating the potential for social conversation to generate and increase Live +7 performance.”
“We all know that social media has value, but quantifying that still remains a mystery,” added Nagy. “These findings get us one step closer to fully understanding the relationship between social activity and TV ratings and enabling us to take better advantage of social media as a platform that can drive viewership.”
Networks can use these approaches to measure the impact of stronger social media investments (e.g., getting the program cast to engage audiences by Tweeting during live airings) on delayed viewing. They also encourage TV networks to create more sharable content (e.g., memes, short-form video, games, etc.). As social media becomes further ingrained in audiences’ TV viewing habits, these results will continue to improve our understanding of the social TV phenomenon and build toward additional, practical insights for networks and advertisers.