Nielsen launched a new ratings system today, but it doesn't measure what people are watching on TV. Instead, it tracks what TV shows people are tweeting about. The Twitter TV Ratings dig deep into the data to find out not just how many times a show was mentioned on the social media service, but also how many people saw those tweets, reports the New York Times. For instance, one episode of Grey’s Anatomy garnered 225,000 tweets, but they were potentially viewed by 2.8 million different Twitter accounts.
But perhaps the most notable thing about the ratings is that they show Twitter chatter and TV viewer numbers aren't necessarily related. Of the top 10 tweeted-about shows for September 23 to 29, only one—The Voice—made the top 10 for actual viewers. Football, The Big Bang Theory, and NCIS are what people were watching—yet shows like Breaking Bad, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Dancing With the Stars had more people talking, reports Variety. "If your show is creating conversations on Twitter, it is more valuable, and you should get credit for that," says a Twitter spokesperson, per the Wall Street Journal. But not all advertisers are convinced yet. "(There's) still so much more research that has to be done to understand the value of it," says a media buyer from one advertising firm. "If a show is social does that mean it helps or hurts the advertisers?"