Tweets Are the New TV Ratings

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The success of a TV show is no longer dependent on its official viewer ratings – Twitter and Facebook are increasingly telling producers and advertisers everything they need to know.

I’ve noticed it in my Twitter stream, you must have seen it in yours: Every evening, the big TV show of the night gets a slew of mentions by those watching it. Just a glance at Twitter can tell you if you’re missing something amazing, or if you made the right choice to go out.

A hit show will generate plenty of online commentary. Great shows will get their own user-generated hashtags, and maybe reach the lofty heights of a position in Twitter’s list of trending topics. A flop will barely show up in searches.

Some TV production companies are embracing social media, employing staff members to watch over the internet while a show is being broadcast, re-tweeting positive comments and posting links to interesting background material, behind-the-scenes photos, and so on.

The ability to see directly into the collective mind of the viewers is enormously attractive to advertisers. It could even bring about changes in the nature of TV sponsorship: Imagine a deal where an advertiser pays a production company a bonus for every additional retweet of a particular message, or for every “Like” of a particular page.

The medium is the message, the message is the currency, and the currency is us.

(Via The Guardian)