'Scandal' and Miley Cyrus top Nielsen's first Twitter TV ratings

scandal-twitter-ratings.jpgThe Season 3 premiere of "Scandal" scored the show's best Nielsen ratings ever, and it also scored big in a new metric: Twitter TV Ratings.

According to the data collected by Nielsen and SocialGuide, more people saw tweets about "Scandal" than any other show on TV for the week of Sept. 30-Oct. 6. The new rankings, which launched Monday (Oct. 7) measure both the number of tweets written about a given show and the total number of Twitter users who saw those tweets.

The ranking doesn't just add up the number of followers who saw tweets about a show. It instead "de-duplicates" the number of Twitter users so that "a Twitter account will be counted only once for a given reported episode regardless of how many impressions the account accrued for that episode." Meaning that if you follow the entire tweet-happy cast of "Scandal," you aren't counted more than once for seeing all their tweets accompanying the show's premiere.

Nielsen and SocialGuide counted almost 713,000 tweets about "Scandal" in the seven hours before, during and after its premiere (by far the most for any show in the Twitter Top 10), reaching about 3.65 million unique Twitter users. Miley Cyrus' MTV documentary "The Movement" (3.19 million users) and "Saturday Night Live" appearance (3.15 million) ranked second and third in the metric, albeit with far fewer tweets about them -- 142,400 and 175,800, respectively.

Nielsen says the average Twitter TV audience for a show is about 50 times larger than the number of "authors" actually sending tweets -- meaning that if 1,000 people are tweeting about a show, 50,000 people see those tweets. The multiple decreases, however, as the number of authors goes up because of the likelihood that people follow more than author (e.g., multiple cast members of "Scandal").

So, does that mean tweeting about your favorite show can help keep it on the air? Not necessarily. Twitter ratings may prove to be a useful metric for networks to see how actively engaged the audience for a given show is, but there's no guarantee that everyone who sees a tweet about a show is actually watching it, and eyes on the first screen is still what brings in the great majority of the money.

Here's the Top 10 in the inaugural Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings:

1. "Scandal," 3.65 million users reached by 712,900 tweets
2. "Miley: The Movement," 3.19 million from 142,400 tweets
3. "Saturday Night Live," 3.15 million from 175,800 tweets
4. "The Voice" (Tuesday), 2.62 million from 106,600 tweets
5. "The Voice" (Monday), 2.56 million from 135,000 tweets
6. "The Vampire Diaries," 2.49 million from 278,000 tweets
7. "Glee," 2.27 million from 196,000 tweets
8. "Dancing With the Stars," 2.09 million from 59,800 tweets
9. "The X Factor" (Wednesday), 2.04 million from 255,200 tweets
10. "The X Factor" (Thursday), 1.8 million from 188,800 tweets
Photo/Video credit: ABC