For all the evidence showing a shift toward on-demand viewing, Nielsen research has found that live television is still good for creating buzz on Twitter.
According to a new study by The Nielsen Co. 's Nielsen Social unit, 68% of weekly TV activity on Twitter takes place within a six-hour window before and after a program first airs. The numbers vary depending on the type of program being discussed, with reality shows getting the largest share of live tweets at 70%, dramas following in second with 64% and comedies bringing up the rear with 55%.
Nielsen's study also showed that increased levels of Twitter activity during a live show often resulted in higher activity during the three days after the initial broadcast. In other words, shows that are popular on Twitter during a live airing are often also popular in the days that follow.
As for what people tweet about, Nielsen exposed just how inane social media postings can be. The company broke tweets down into four categories: tweets about program viewing (i.e. "I can't believe what just happened to…"); general program enthusiasm (i.e. "So excited to see what happens to…"); star-related discussion; and promotion-related tweets. Across all programs, the averages for each category were 46%, 36%, 13% and 4% respectively.
Measuring TV activity on Twitter does have its limitations. Pew Research found last year that fewer than 20% of online adults in the US use the social networking platform. However, that hasn't stopped Nielsen from trying to capitalize on TV's Twitter presence. The company has been measuring TV tweets since October 2013. (See Nielsen Names Top TV on Twitter.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading