When it comes to major television events like the Emmy Awards or the Super Bowl, one of the places people increasingly turn for commentary and real-time analysis is Twitter, and the social network would like to keep it that way. As part of that effort, it has been circulating a "TV Playbook" that talks about what its research -- combined with numbers from the Nielsen rating service -- shows about our changing TV habits.
According to Twitter, there were more than a billion TV-related tweets last year in the United States, and close to 90% of those came from mobile devices. About 85% of Twitter users who are active on Twitter during prime-time say that they tweet about TV content they are watching. And in a statistic that will no doubt warm the hearts of cable companies, 93% of users said they had a cable subscription.
Twitter's playbook also says that when TV shows incorporate a hashtag in some way (either by including it in an on-screen prompt, or by having someone refer to it), that increases the volume of tweets about that show by 20%. Half of the Twitter users who say they tweet while watching TV look up those hashtags to see what others are saying about the show, Twitter's research shows.
Major events continue to draw huge numbers of impressions, Twitter says. The Super Bowl is the largest, with 2 billion views of content related to the event, with other recent highlights including Saturday Night Live's 40th anniversary (which drew 188 million views) and the Season One finale of the show Empire, which got 112 million views.
The company's playbook says that tweets related to TV shows and television content can have a dramatic effect on other users, driving them to follow the social accounts related to the show or search for other information about the program. More than 50% of those who see a tweet about a TV show take some kind of action on that shows' social-media services, the playbook says, and 47% search for information online.
This kind of statistic is part of Twitter's campaign promoting the idea that users who tweet about shows are "influencers," those highly sought-after individuals who can convince others to take action. So according to the playbook, 50% of Twitter users get asked for their opinion about shows, or twice as many as non-users, and 51% are likely to create social-media content about the shows they watch, compared to just 17% of non-Twitter users.
And finally, in a statistic that is likely to be of interest to the brands that both Twitter and TV networks are trying to appeal to, Twitter says that 80% of users who are active during prime-time hours have mentioned a brand name in their tweets about shows. And almost 100% of users who were active during prime-time were exposed to at least one brand-related tweet.