Why Nielsen's Twitter TV Ratings Are a Con

Beejoli Shah: It's just a scam to make Twitter and Nielsen more money

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 9, 2013 4:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Nielsen's new Twitter TV ratings have been the subject of much hype—but the hype is just that, says Beejoli Shah at Defamer: "It's a load of crap solely designed to make Twitter rich and keep Nielsen richer," she writes, offering several reasons why. To start with, the metrics measure how many times a show is mentioned, but not if people are saying nice things about that show. "So there's no way to tell how many of the 178,500 authors tweeting about Miley: The Movement ... actually like Miley and would buy products advertised against the show, and how many—like me—were simply begging for Miley to go away."

Secondly, the first batch of ratings themselves showed no correlation between Twitter popularity and actual viewership. "Twitter ratings can tell you who the loudest viewers are," she writes. "But if you're a big advertiser you'd probably rather shoot for the safety of a show you know will be seen by a million different people." Besides which, says Shah, if people are focusing on Twitter, they're clearly not focusing on the ads. "I was so busy during Breaking Bad trying to Google the profit margins on meth that I ended up missing the entire shootout," she says. And then there's the hidden agenda of Twitter itself, which recently launched a program allowing networks to pay to put tweets into feeds of people who seem to be watching their TV show. Click for Shah's full column.

A Twitter App and stock tracker on an iPhone.
A Twitter App and stock tracker on an iPhone.   (AP Photo/dpa, Marius Becker, File)
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