Posted September 19, 2013 5:47 pm by with 1 comment

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Commercial TimeThe new fall TV season is underway and that means a whole new selection of official accounts, fan accounts and hashtags (#TCDFW). Actors will be Tweeting for fun and under studio mandates. Producers and writers will keep fans guessing and if anyone wants to count, we’ll probably see more LIVE Tweeting events than ever before.

I’ll go out on a thin antenna here and say that the 2013-2014 TV season will be the most Twitter-ific season ever.

So here’s a fun fact from Nielsen: 70% of all TV Tweets are sent out during program time.

Think about that. It’s counter-intuitive. If I’m really into a show, I want to keep my eyes on the screen. Then, when the show breaks for commercial, I whip out my phone and post my thoughts.

Nope. Only 30% of people are Tweeting during commercial breaks. This is sort of good news for advertisers. It means that people aren’t turning away from ads in order to get on Twitter. But it also means they’re not seeing anything compelling enough to Tweet about. If you had a really amazing commercial, then folks might Tweet about it to their friends.

Nielsen did find that the number of Tweets during commercial breaks rose along with the number of commercials. Which means the ratio of remains almost the same, even when you break it down by genre.


nielsen genre tweets

Given those commercial percentages, it’s a wonder that writers can deliver a coherent and satisfying plot week after week.

This survey is just a tiny portion of what we’ll be seeing as we move into the new season. In another few weeks, Nielsen will launch their new “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” system which measures the volume of Twitter conversation for every show in prime time.

I can’t wait to see how the Nielsen ratings stack up against the Twitter ratings. I suspect that some of the highest rated shows will have the lowest Twitter numbers. Last month, the ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars” broke records with 1.9 million Tweets during the season finale. Ratings wise, the series has 2.1 million viewers in the 18-49 bracket. By comparison, last nights “The X-Factor” had 6.62 million viewers.

A lot of viewers, doesn’t always equal a lot of Tweets.

Going forward networks and advertisers will have to decide how much weight to give social media buzz. On a teen show like “Pretty Little Liars” a high Tweet score could be worth a lot more than high ratings because it means the audience is loyal and engaged. As an advertiser, I’ll take engaged over more eyeballs every time.

Care to make a prediction? Which new shows will rank highest in the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating system?


  • Fred Casey

    I agree with you. I am using Twitter and the writers, producers are tweeting correct information on daily basis. All information is received directly.
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