Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings: why they matter

Posted: October 14th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

In the Mad Men era, Nielsen audience ratings were enough to make or break a show. Today, what matters is not how many people watch it, but what proportion of them encounter an advert, rather than fast-forwarding through the breaks on Sky+, while checking Facebook on their phones.

As TV moves onto connected devices, the most profitable shows will swap advertising for e-commerce, persuading viewers to go straight to an online purchase. We have to hope that quality drama can continue to find alternative revenue models to this…

Mad men product placement

It is a smashing hat, though

Last Tuesday, Nielsen announced that they were adding a count of how many people were Tweeting about a show to their  metrics.  That Twitter rating will be all important, as it describes just how many people are making online interactions during a show, and how easily, therefore, they can be targeted with advertising linked to the products placed in the show.

 There is a symbolic importance to this new metric – the great scorekeeper of old media, acknowledging the importance of the new. There is also a practical importance. Shows like Big Brother, where literally every item in the house – furniture, kitchenware even the contestants’ clothes – are product placement are becoming enormously profitable. Programming where things like ‘plot’ and ‘character’ get in the way of efficient e-commerce may become less so.

  • Joe

    I keep clicking on the arrow but it won’t let me buy the hat :(

  • Sam Bueno de Mesquita


    (Though I have to say, if they did start selling Roger Sterling’s accessories during episodes of Mad Men, I might find myself ending each episode a few hundred quid poorer)