Twitter and the Future of Television

By Posted in - Blog & Social Media Strategy & storytelling on October 14th, 2013 0 Comments futureofTV

Twitter and Nielson have worked together to publish a list of the most Tweeted television shows. They wanted to find out how many viewers were heading to Twitter to check Tweets and talk about their shows. The numbers measured this Twitter activity in the space of 1 week. What’s interesting about these numbers is that they don’t quite correspond to the regular TV ratings. With the exception of “The Voice” the list is totally different.

Football gained the most viewers overall with comedy The Big Bang Theory coming in at a close second. NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and The Crazy Ones (a new Robin Williams comedy) all claimed spots on the list. And yet none of these had any impact on Twitter.

It’s no surprise that the Breaking Bad finale was the most talked about show of the week on Twitter (and probably on other social networks too). Jimmy Kimmel, Dancing with the Stars, Glee and How I Met Your Mother all created stories and discussion on Twitter.


It’s a unique insight in to the kind of topics and shows that get us talking. Large numbers of Americans tuned in to watch the football but it seems they weren’t interested in following it on Twitter. This could be down to how people view football. For example the reason for not jumping on to social networks during the game, might be because you already have a bunch of friends round to watch it with you anyway.

The best way to look at the figures is by looking at what shows are likely to spark conversations. Talent competitions have been a popular topic for years. This can be down to people watching for their favourites, seeking out celebrity news or even wanting to poke gentle fun at the people on screen.

For the comedies and dramas many of them were news worthy for various reasons. Breaking Bad has been growing in popularity with each new season and the ending had been widely anticipated. Glee has been in the news due to the death of one of its stars Cory Monteith back in July. Then How I Met Your Mother was enjoying the premier to season 8 with audiences finally getting to meet the Mother of the show’s title (after years of waiting).

Nielson and the various Television companies now have the task of what this means for their advertising campaigns. Should more be invested in to Tweeted TV shows or should the old fashioned ratings still be the major deciding factor in how much a show is worth?

“But what does this have to do with the rest of us?” I hear you cry. We’re in the profession of Social Media and as we know social media is all about conversations and stories. We know that people respond better to a conversation they can get involved with as opposed to a boring static advert.


The bottom line is this. If you’ve ever created a post about football you might have lost out on some valuable discussion because there was another Page posting about Breaking Bad. Your followers were busy watching the game but the Breaking Bad fans were ready and willing to voice their thoughts and opinions.

Don’t go with what’s popular. Go with a conversation starter.

This is also valuable information for anyone actively promoting their brand on Twitter. While we don’t advise butting in on a popular hashtag with a crummy advert, it is a great way to reach a whole new audience.

Obviously this depends on what kind of business you have and how you present yourself online. But if you’re happy to hold informal conversations online then why not try asking your followers if they liked the last Jimmy Kimmel Live or who they think will win The Voice.

Join the conversation online with #WeekofTwitter

Chart via Wall Street Journal

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