Which TV Shows Are Getting The Most Buzz?

October 8, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Digital | Social Media | Social TV & Multi-Screening | TV Audiences & Consumption

MarketingCharts-Top-TV-Shows-Nielsen-Online-Offline-Ratings-Oct2013Nielsen has released its much-anticipated Twitter TV program rankings, examining the shows with the greatest reach on Twitter (charted results from the week of September 30-October 6 can be found here). Along with the rankings, Nielsen and SocialGuide released some data about the growth of TV tweeting activity, indicating that the number of tweets about TV grew by 38% year-over-year in Q2 to reach 263 million, while the number of authors tweeting about TV grew by 24% to 19 million. But it’s not just Nielsen measuring the buzz about TV programs – others have been too.

First, some notes about Nielsen’s Twitter ratings and how they relate to TV ratings. The Wall Street Journal put together a handy comparison of TV and Twitter ratings for the week of September 23-29 (topline results in the chart above), showing that just two shows appeared on both top 10 lists. In other words the shows that boast the largest TV audiences aren’t always the ones garnering the biggest audiences on Twitter. In fact, they seldom did – at least for that particular week. That shouldn’t be too surprising, since Nielsen’s recent study examining the correlation between Twitter buzz and TV ratings found a significant influence for only 29% of sampled episodes.

So what shows are drawing the buzz on Twitter? During the week of September 23-29, the top show by unique audience on Twitter (the total number of distinct Twitter accounts accruing at least one impression of one or more different tweets ascribed to a TV episode) was, somewhat predictably, “Breaking Bad,” with a unique audience of 9.3 million. That was far ahead of the second-ranked show, “The Voice (Monday),” with a Twitter audience of 3.8 million.

In this past week (September 30-October 6) after the “Breaking Bad” finale, ABC’s “Scandal” drew the largest audience on Twitter (3.7 million), followed by MTV’s “Miley: The Movement” (3.2 million) and “Saturday Night Live” (3.1 million). “The Voice” closed out the top 5 with its Tuesday episode (2.62 million) edging the Monday night episode (2.56 million).

Somewhat unsurprisingly, most of the TV programs making the grade in terms of Twitter audiences are weekday primetime shows. That “Saturday Night Live” cracked the top 5 likely speaks to some crossover between its audience’s demographics and the demographics of Twitter users (who skew young).

What About Word of Mouth?

Of course there’s more to buzz than just Twitter. Ad Age took a more expansive view of “social buzz,” asking the Keller Fay Group to survey Americans aged 13-69 during the week of September 23-29 about the “real-world” conversations they were having about the new fall TV shows.

According to the results, 53% of respondents had talked about at least one of the shows that week. The top 5 premieres (whether or not the premiere had actually aired), in order of word-of-mouth buzz were:

  • “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”;
  • “Sleepy Hollow”;
  • “The Michael J. Fox Show”;
  • “The Blacklist”; and
  • “The Crazy Ones”.

How about broadening the survey to word-of-mouth about any TV show? Ipsos has that covered with its weekly “TOMAmeter” results. The Ipsos MediaCT rankings look at the TV shows people are talking about via more than 5,000 unaided responses among persons aged 13-64. For the week of September 23-29, the 5 “most spontaneously mentioned” TV shows were:

  • “Breaking Bad”;
  • “The Big Bang Theory”;
  • “Sleepy Hollow”;
  • “NCIS”; and
  • “The Walking Dead”.

The Ad Age survey’s top fall premiere, “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” came in the 6th spot in the Ipsos rankings, while “The Voice” came in at number 8.

For those wondering, “Breaking Bad” has topped the TOMAmeter every week since the week of August 5-11, when it displaced “Under the Dome,” which had taken the top spot for 6 consecutive weeks.

A comparison of the buzz rankings for September 23-29 can be found in the above chart.

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