Twitter good for TV chatter, but what about ratings?

As last summer’s Sharknado phenomenon proved, Twitter is capable of generating enormous TV-related chatter. The effect of heightened Twitter activity on actual ratings, however, is less quantifiable. Even broadcasters themselves have admitted that it’s hard to draw a direct line between Twitter chatter and tuning. That’s verified by new data from Toronto research firm Solutions […]

Chris Powell December 11, 2013

As last summer’s Sharknado phenomenon proved, Twitter is capable of generating enormous TV-related chatter.

The effect of heightened Twitter activity on actual ratings, however, is less quantifiable. Even broadcasters themselves have admitted that it’s hard to draw a direct line between Twitter chatter and tuning.

That’s verified by new data from Toronto research firm Solutions Research Group (SRG), which suggests that Twitter activity doesn’t necessarily translate into better ratings.

As part of its ongoing Digital Life Canada survey, SRG found that 58% of Canada’s active Twitter users – roughly 3.2 million people – either discuss or are exposed to TV talk on the popular social media service.

However, only about 17% – or 1 million people – have tuned into a TV show as a result of being reminded by a post, while 11% have followed tweets about a show but not bothered to tune in. An additional 7% of respondents said they have decided not to watch a show because of comments on Twitter.

“It’s a tune-in reminder, but not everyone that talks about a show is actually watching,” said SRG’s Kaan Yigit. “It’s one of the reasons why TV ratings and social ratings differ.”

The other reason for the discrepancy, he said, is the fact that Twitter users tend to be younger than the typical TV viewer.