Nielsen on Monday announced a deal to tap into Twitter to gauge how much online buzz is being generated by television shows instead of simply focusing on numbers of viewers for programs.
The television show tracking service, data from which can determine whether programs are canceled, said that it is working with the popular messaging service to create a "Nielsen Twitter TV Rating."
Nielsen president of global media products and advertiser solutions Steve Hasker said the Twitter-based metric is "a significant step forward for the industry" as the Internet, smartphones, and tablets change viewing styles.
"Twitter has become the world's digital water cooler, where conversations about TV happen in real time," Twitter vice president of media Chloe Sladden said in a blog post.
"This effort reflects Nielsen's foresight into the evolving nature of the TV viewing experience."
Nielsen ratings of shows based on sentiment and comments in Twitter's "fire hose" of tweeted messages were expected to be available in the US next year.
The metric could steer advertising dollars to television shows that win enthusiastic but narrow audiences, keeping programs on air even when studio executives find overall viewership figures disappointing.
"The proliferation of smartphones and tablets has generated a substantial 'connected' TV audience that is simultaneously watching television and accessing the Internet through these devices," said CBS Corp. chief research officer David Poltrack.
"We are pleased to see Nielsen and Twitter join together to provide a comprehensive measurement system that will allow us to employ these social networking tools to their full advantage."
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