TV ratings are evolving into smartphones, tablets, social media. No escape from ads on our devices?

Social media services are as prevalent as mobile devices today that practically everyone has access from anywhere and at any time. Why are TV networks and show producers are scrambling to grab user attention through social media as a new extension of the TV screen?

Watching TV TV ratings are evolving into smartphones, tablets, social media. No escape from ads on our devices?

Television advertisers want to be on every screen. This means they are going beyond their traditional realm, which is the TV screen, and intend to likewise invade smaller devices like smartphones and tablets. Online video only gets a fraction of our attention compared to traditional television according to a report by Nielsen.  The divide is stark: 98 percent of time is taken up by television versus less than 2 percent enjoyed by Hulu, Netflix and YouTube (note: this figure spans all demographics).

In the run up to its initial public offering, Twitter has already made deals with TV networks in the US and around the globe to share data and trends about conversations. The social network has already beefed up its arsenal to deal with this kind of big data, having launched Amplify, which partners with TV networks to deliver promoted tweets and co-branded promotional videos to users who are actively discussing ongoing shows.

Twitter has likewise partnered with Nielsen, which will soon publish Twitter TV ratings from smartphone and tablet data. Apart from this, Twitter has acquired Bluefin Labs in 2012, as well as analytics company Trendrr and mobile ad company MoPub this year. All these are done in an effort to grab a share of the US$ 70 billion TV advertising industry.

Facebook is likewise no stranger to TV advertising, as it has recently opened up its Graph Search data to select US and international TV networks, granting access to big data and analytics. In particular, Facebook will provide insights on how conversations about ongoing TV shows translate into actions like comments, likes and shares.

In this regard, even if Facebook has bigger numbers than Twitter — 1.15 billion vs. Twitter’s 215 million active users — Twitter has had a headstart in partnering with media companies to offer big data and analytics. And according to recent statistics, the data does work. Nielsen has determined that more tweets equates to more viewers, and the correlation goes both ways. Twitter engagement has actually boosted live TV viewership in a “statistically significant” manner.

Dan Rose, Facebook’s vice president for partnerships, notes that tracking viewership and engagement through social media reflect reactions of real people. These interactions are “happening between friends, family members, co-workers and neighbors,” he said.

Social media is the next frontier in tracking TV ratings. The question for us, consumers of media, is whether having new forms of advertising is a good thing in the first place.

Source: The Atlantic

J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise applications and services. He is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team.