The Relationship Between Social Media Buzz and TV Ratings | Nielsen
People aren’t just consuming content on social networks, they’re actively sharing it. As television becomes more digital – in the form of sharable video clips or articles about a show’s premiere, for example – social media will continue to play an increasingly important role in how consumers discover and engage with various forms of content, including TV.
An analysis conducted by NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey Company, and Nielsen looked at the correlation between online buzz and television ratings and found a statistically significant relationship throughout a TV show’s season among all age groups, with the strongest correlation among younger demos (people ages 12-17 and 18-34), and a slightly stronger overall correlation for women compared to men. Men over 50 showed the weakest buzz-to-ratings connection leading up to a show’s premiere through the middle of the season, but that relationship strengthened by the finale as all age groups were actively discussing a TV show via social media.
Among people aged 18-34, the most active social networkers, social media buzz is most closely aligned with TV ratings for the premiere of a show. A few weeks prior to a show’s premiere, a nine percent increase in buzz volume correlates to a one percent increase in ratings among this group. As the middle of the season approaches and then the finale, the correlation is slightly weaker, but still significant, with a 14 percent increase in buzz corresponding to a one percent increase in ratings.
At the genre level, 18-34 year-old females showed significant buzz-to-ratings relationships for reality programs (competition and non-competition), comedies and dramas, while men of the same age saw strong correlations for competition realities and dramas.