Our technological world is spinning so rapidly, and the way we respond as consumers is having such a tremendous impact. Another adjustment could ultimately be made in the way TV ratings are measured. As much as we love to watch TV, we also love to let our fingers do some of the talking, too. A new Nielsen/Social Guide study shows that 32 million people in the U.S. tweeted about whatever they were watching in 2012. You know what I’m talking about. Some 68% of African-Americans own smartphones and we tweet on those phones 30% more than other groups. So, chances are, when you’re nearly hyper-ventilating over the antics of your favorite Real Housewife or blown away by a performance on your favorite talent competition show or the score during some championship sporting event, you’re talking about it with the rest of the world by tweeting. Fun, isn’t it? The data confirms what most of us already know – as consumers, we are master multi-taskers. At least several times a month, 80% of U.S. tablet and smartphone owners use those fancy gadgets to visit a social network while watching TV.
Research shows that the decision-makers in the TV industry would be smart to take notice of the numbers attached to all that tweeting that’s going on while live television is being watched, whether traditionally or through multi-screen viewing because tweeting affects the numbers. And, it’s interesting how the Twitter numbers correlate with ratings depends on the age group. For younger people, 18-34, an eight and a half percent increase in Twitter activity equals a percent ratings point increase. But, it takes a 14% increase in Twitter volume to see an extra ratings boost of a percent among 35-49-year-olds. (I can’t help but wonder where that leaves those of us who have outgrown that demo, but watch TV and tweet, too). Once again, our behavior, our choices as consumers have the power to influence industries. What you watch and how you watch it,matters. So, choose wisely.
Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Nielsen. For more information and studies go to www.nielsenwire.com.