NEWS25 September 2014

Study ‘confirms’ link between TV and Twitter

Data analytics News UK

UK — A new study has ‘confirmed’ the link between TV and Twitter in the UK, showing that 11% of shows gain viewers during broadcast as a direct result of Twitter activity.

The study – A Year in the Life of TV and Twitter – examined a year’s worth of data from Twitter and Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB), excluding news and live sports programmes, and found that Twitter has a “direct, positive influence on viewing figures during broadcast for 11% of programmes, boosting audiences by an estimated 2% during those shows”.

Other findings included:

  • There is a Twitter TV top 30: In terms of volume of tweets, the top 30 TV series account for 9% of viewing volume and 50% of all measured UK Twitter TV activity
  • TV tweet levels broadly correlate with TV channel shares and programme/ series viewing figures
  • There was a noticeable skew of tweets towards entertainment, talent shows, constructed reality, documentaries, soaps, special evenyts and some dramas where there is a cult or younger following

“People have always talked about TV with friends and family, and Twitter extends these conversations outside the living room,” said Andy Brown, Global CEO of Kantar Media. “This extensive study illustrates the positive correlation between Twitter and TV in the UK, but also shows that it is not as straightforward as assuming that a high number of viewers results in a large volume of tweets.

“‘Twitter friendly’ shows that encourage tweets during the broadcast or have a younger, evangelical audience for example, can punch above their weight, thereby distorting overall perceptions.  This illustrates how proactive encouragement of social TV activity can positively impact programming schedules and advertising campaigns.”

Earlier this year, NBC Universal claimed that social media was not yet a “game changer” for boosting TV ratings, though this claim – disputed by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo – was based on analysis of Twitter activity in relation to the Sochi Winter Olympics. The Kantar study did not include live sporting events in its analysis.