According to Nielsen, Twitter has been conclusively proven as an important tool for driving ratings. In a recent study, the consumer research agency found that Twitter volume has a significant effect on ratings for 29% of measured TV episodes.
Nielsen would not say the degree to which Twitter traffic affects TV viewers, but its test was statistically rigorous and the 29% represents a change that Nielsen, as it has long stated, believes TV producers cannot ignore. The recent findings back up Nielsen’s decision to launch a Twitter TV rating capable of measuring tweet volume for specific shows.
Nielsen also noted that the change was more dramatic for certain types of shows. Naturally, I’m sure Charlie Rose won’t score a ton of extra traffic by having its viewers tweet out their thoughts, but as Robin Thicke has proven, plastering hashtags all over a screen can lead to a significant jump in media attention. Nielsen’s findings are nothing more than an affirmation of that truth.