On Dec. 17, Nielsen and Twitter announced they had reached an exclusive agreement to create the "Nielsen Twitter TV Rating" starting for the fall 2013 season. With audiences becoming more splintered, and advertisers trying to find new and unique ways to reach viewers, a way to analyze how fans are using Twitter while watching a show has been sorely in need.
And now they have found it.
Nielsen will be utilizing SocialGuide to measure user's Twitter activity during shows. With a combination of tracking buzzwords, and some form of human review, SocialGuide is able to quantify how many people are tweeting about a particular show, at any point in time.
So what does that mean for the average WWE fan, you may ask? Things may start getting a lot more annoying.
WWE's social media presence has been well-documented over the past few years. Its deal with YouTube has created one of the more interesting channels on the site. Monday Night Raw had a -- thankfully - brief experiment with social media ambassadors. WWE has invested in Tout, a social media tool that allows users to post 15-second videos. 'RAWactive' has been used to vote on matches, match stipulations, team names, and, most recently, on who would win a Slammy Award. Brand strength and fan interaction was also a key talking point in the companies third quarter earnings report.
Now, though, the promotion has a tangible reason to make sure it solidifies its presence on Twitter.
WWE continues to put up solid ratings, even in the three-hour Monday Night Raw era. Last week (Dec. 31), Raw beat out every show on cable, beside the Cotton Bowl, College Football Live, and SportsCenter; all on ESPN. However, advertisers have been historically reluctant to fully invest in pro wrestling.
A strong "Twitter Rating" could end up changing that.
On Monday (Jan. 7), Monday Night Raw ranked sixth in unique tweets. The entire chart -- because who doesn't love charts? -- is below:
|1||BCS National Championship||ESPN||1,334,907||3,989,642|
|3||Love & Hip Hop||VH1||99,440||249,649|
|4||Catfish: The TV Show||MTV||87,733||176,118|
|5||Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks||MSG/CSN||85,324||189,950|
|6||WWE Monday Night Raw||USA||78,419||233,058|
Putting aside the BCS National Championship between Notre Dame and Alabama, Raw stacks up pretty well to its competition.
After all, if more people are talking about the show, it becomes harder to DVR Raw because you end up missing out on all your friends talking about the show. That means you are stuck watching it in real time, which forces you to sit through commercials. If sponsors get a guarantee that fans have to sit and watch their advertisements, they will be willing to pay more. If they pay more money to USA Network, that in turn trickles down to WWE.
And then it goes straight into Vince McMahon's pockets, or Linda's purse.
It is obviously a lot more complicated than that, but it is still a viable train of thought. The use of a "Twitter Rating" also puts more power in the hands of the average fan. Normally, if you don't have a Nielsen box, there is nothing you can do to let the powers that be know what you enjoyed, or what you hated. Now, if you liked a segment, you can help raise WWE's rating by tweeting about it.
It is unknown if negative tweets will be taken into account, but hopefully these things will be figured out before the fall.
It will be interesting to see how things play out moving forward. WWE has been hyping social media for years, and I have been critical of the ability to actually make money off of it. It seems, though, that I could be wrong. If WWE can continue to grow its influence on Twitter, it just adds an extra dimension to its ratings. It also gives fans power to actually vote on what they enjoy and what they hate.
Although, with WWE fans being what they are, that could end up being very, very bad.