Nielsen’s Steve Hasker Says The New Twitter TV Rating Isn’t Just For Advertisers

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When a new measurement called the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating was announced this morning, neither company provided a lot of detail about what specifically they’d be measuring. So I got on the phone with Steve Hasker, Nielsen’s president of global media products and advertiser solutions. He was still pretty vague about the product, but he did offer some thoughts on who will use it and the advantages it will have over other social analytics tools.

In the press release, Hasker said the new rating could be used by advertisers who “create integrated ad campaigns that combine paid and earned media [i.e. advertising versus organic social conversation around a show or campaign].” But he told me that’s just one of three likely customer groups.

On the ad side, he said the ratings should be useful on more than a campaign level. Ad executives could also use it to identify shows that don’t necessarily have the best traditional ratings, but that get a lot of support on Twitter. It could also be used by TV producers and programmers who want to understand the social engagement around their show and how it might be improved. For example, he said they might want to look at the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating to try to understand why one episode got a huge response on Twitter and why another one fell flat.

“For the first time, engagement … will come out of the shadows,” he said.

So why focus on Twitter in particular? Hasker said it’s a combination of factors, including the conversational nature of the updates, the real-time nature of those conversations, and the fact that tweets are mostly public. Plus, of course, there’s Twitter’s enormous reach.

As for what this new rating will offer that isn’t already available through existing social analytics services, Hasker says the real distinction is measuring reach. In other words, he said, this will be the first “robust measure” that shows you not just how many people tweeted about a show or an ad (or the kind of engagement those tweets saw), but also how widely those tweets were seen.

Nielsen will be sharing more details in May so that people in the ad industry “have a good sense of what’s coming,” Hasker said, before the commercial launch next fall.