Nielsen Twitter TV ratings: How much do you tweet about your favorite shows?

zap2it-twitter.jpgLindsay Lohan's "Liz and Dick" debuted on Lifetime last month to lackluster ratings -- which was surprising, because if you were browsing Twitter while the show aired, it seemed that everyone and their dog was live-tweeting the critically panned biopic. Twitter has become the go-to platform for TV fans to share opinions and reactions, connect with stars and showrunners, and even to promote shows via word-of-mouth. ABC, FOX, and other networks have even begun broadcasting a hashtag on-screen so fans can find each other on social media. Still, Nielsen TV ratings tend not to reflect the enthusiasm we see online.

Thus, it's a pleasant surprise that Nielsen and Twitter have announced a collaboration. Beginning in Fall 2013, Nielsen will release a "Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings" system, designed to complement and expand on its current ratings system. The new numbers will reflect "the total audience for social TV activity - both those participating in the conversation and those who were exposed to the activity - providing the precise size of the audience and effect of social TV to TV programming."

"The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating is a significant step forward for the industry, particularly as programmers develop increasingly captivating live TV and new second-screen experiences, and advertisers create integrated ad campaigns that combine paid and earned media," says Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. "As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data."

"Our users love the shared experience of watching television while engaging with other viewers and show talent. Twitter has become the world's digital water cooler, where conversations about TV happen in real time. Nielsen is who the networks rely on to give better content to viewers and clearer results to marketers," adds Chloe Sladden, Twitter's vice president of media. "This effort reflects Nielsen's foresight into the evolving nature of the TV viewing experience, and we're looking forward to collaborating with Twitter ecosystem partners on this metric to help broadcasters and advertisers create truly social TV experiences."