Conversations around the TV schedule happen on all social networks, but the most compelling insights come from Twitter. This is because it’s a public platform without the privacy issues of Facebook, its users embrace the immediacy of microblogging and the Tweet (being 140 chars or less) lends itself to being made into a metric.
On Twitter the signal bursts through the noise to reveal very clear patterns of engagement around TV shows. We often hear commentators talking about social media ‘buzz’ around broadcasts but the reality is much more nuanced. Different genres, time slots and demographics display different patterns of engagement.
We seen over 20 repeating patterns of engagement and we will be releasing a white paper documenting them in early 2013. In the meantime here are a few examples from the last 12 months.
1) Dramas generate a bookend pattern of engagement.
2) Some shows demonstrate a remarkable viewer to tweet conversion. This episode of Made in Chelsea saw 25% of the audience sending a Tweet.
3) Engagement around soaps is tied intimately to developments in the plot. The spike below is the response to the unveiling of the identity of Kat’s secret lover.
4) Twitter is often a barometer for public opinion. James Arthur attracted more tweets from day one on X Factor - long before he was identified as a contender by the judges. He went on to win the show.
5) Some shows initiate a conversation that extends way past the end of the broadcast. The 15 Stone Babies on Channel 4 is a good example.
6) Getting talent to live-tweet during broadcasts drives engagement. MTV are particularly good at this with The Valleys and Geordie Shore.
7) Tweet patterns for films repeat themselves. These two broadcasts of Dirty Dancing shown six months apart display almost identical Twitter engagement patterns.
The big players in audience measurement are now taking Social TV seriously. Social data will never replace panel data but it is a compelling augmentation. A year ago our statistics documented an interesting audience behaviour, in 2013 they are shaping up to become part of the audience measurement orthodoxy.
By Andy Littledale