The research firm claims its Twitter Causation Study is the first to provide statistical evidence of a “two-way causal influence” between broadcast TV tune-in and Twitter conversation around that show, confirming what many in the industry have long suspected.
Nielsen said that after analysing minute-to-minute trends for 221 broadcast primetime program episodes, in 48% of the episodes, live TV ratings had a statistically significant impact in related tweets.
The volume of tweets also caused statistically significant changes in live TV ratings among 29% of the episodes, the research found.
“Using time series analysis, we saw a statistically significant causal influence indicating that a spike in TV ratings can increase the volume of Tweets, and, conversely, a spike in Tweets can increase tune-in,” said Paul Donato, chief research officer, Nielsen.
Ali Rowghani, Twitter’s chief operating officer added: “These results substantiate what many of our TV partners have been telling us anecdotally for years: namely, that Twitter drives tune-in, especially for live, linear television programming.”
A previous Nielsen study from March found that the amount of buzz a TV show gets on Twitter directly correlates to audience figures, but Nielsen said at the time that this research did not prove causality between the two.