What's the Real Meaning of Measuring Social TV?

Social Media Reach

Since measurement of TV-related conversations in social media began, it has been focused almost exclusively on: how many comments were made, and what they said, with a strong emphasis on Twitter as the most popular medium for public real time conversations. This focus is understandable as these were the only metrics that Twitter made available to third party agencies, who over the last 3 or 4 years have been the only providers of this data.

Given this context, the industry has built a framework where we continuously compare the number of users Tweeting about a TV programme with the number of viewers watching that same TV programme. This follows the rationale that there is only one piece of content: the TV programme, with two possible audiences: viewers watching or viewers watching and Tweeting.

In October and December last year we launched the Kantar Twitter TV Ratings in the UK and Spain respectively, which enable us to provide more metrics around TV-related conversations on Twitter. As a result, this framework should now be adjusted to allow for two types of content: the TV programme and the Tweets sent about that programme, and two audiences: viewers watching and users seeing Tweets about the TV programme (Impressions). 

During the Brit Awards on February 25 this year, more than 3.3 million users in the UK saw Tweets about the Ceremony simultaneous to the TV broadcast on ITV. That same night, 500,000 users saw Tweets about The Great Comic Relief Bake Off. Three weeks earlier, more than 1.2 million users in Spain saw Tweets about the Goya Awards broadcast on La 1. Back in the UK, during every episode of Celebrity Big Brother around 1.2 million Twitter users see Tweets posted about that programme; in the Spanish version of Celebrity Big Brother Tweets posted about each episode are seen by between 800,000 and 1 million Twitter users in Spain.

Understanding that Tweets about TV programmes is also content, related and originated by the TV programme, gives us far deeper insight into social TV. This is content that praises, criticises, entertains or simply communicates an opinion or a sentiment around a TV programme. Content that amplifies the power of television as a medium, and by which other users, viewers of that same TV programme or not, might be impacted and influenced by. Because viewing a number of positive Tweets about a show may inspire someone to change the channel, or negative Tweets may encourage them not to.

In the UK, there are around 150,000 users on Twitter who post TV-related Tweets every day, with an average of 350,000 TV-related Tweets being sent, and consequently seen by 2.5 million users. In Spain, figures are similar: 100,000 users posting 200,000 TV-related Tweets, which are seen by 1.5 million users every day. It’s important to remember that many of these 1.5 million users in Spain or 2.5 million in the UK are looking for television inspiration, a new viewing experience. How do they find it? They watch content: a TV programme, and other content at the same time: Tweets about that TV programme. This new framework considering two types of content and two audiences, related and complementary but different, can provide more powerful insight for greater engagement with both sets of audiences, which our study has demonstrated can have a direct, positive influence on viewing figures.

The Kantar Twitter TV Ratings can measure and analyse which TV programmes generate more content on Twitter, who is generating that content and what that content is saying about a TV programme. In addition, they tell us how many people have seen this content on Twitter, now even at an individual Tweet level, and how this Twitter content influences how viewers choose to watch one TV programme or another. This new framework, and deeper insight, is the real meaning of measuring social TV.

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