UPDATED: Scandal’s third-season debut topped Nielsen’s first weekly Twitter TV ratings, bagging about 713,000 tweets reaching a Twitter audience of 3.7 million. (On TV, the third season debut of ABC’s Washington soap clocked an average of 10.5 million viewers.) Miley Cyrus came in second and third in Nielsen’s Twitter ratings report. At No. 2, her MTV documentary, Miley: The Movement ginned up 142,000 tweets, reaching about 3.2 million on Twitter. That was followed by Saturday Night Live, on which Cyrus played host and music act, which generated nearly 176,000 tweets reaching 3.146 million people on Twitter. These numbers come the same day Twitter officially unveiled the ratings measure, which considers the number of people who read TV-related tweets, not just the number of writers.
Not surprisingly, the Twitter Top-10 for the week of September 30 included lots of competition — competition-series fanatics love to tweet while viewing. The two episodes of NBC’s singing competition series The Voice checked in at No. 4 and No. 5, and ABC’s revamped Dancing With The Stars finished No. 8. Even Fox’s struggling The X Factor made the Top-10 list — twice — ranking No. 9 last Tuesday with 255.2 tweets reaching 2.039 million, and No. 10 on Wednesday with 188,000 tweets reaching more than 1.8 million people on Twitter. These numbers bear little resemblance to the TV ratings. Certain shows are Twitter crack, but not necessarily ratings magnets — we call it The Sharknado Effect. (Remember how the media predicted Syfy’s orgy of bad special effects had been a ratings phenom after seeing people go nuts over it on Twitter only to have to back-peddle when the ratings came in and they were totally meh?)
The Scandal season debut, for instance, will not be among the week’s Top-10 most viewed programs and it will not top the list among younger viewers either, though it will make that Top-10 list at somewhere around No. 7 (Nielsen puts out those stats tomorrow). The Scandal season opener was, however, tailor-made for Twitter, being, well, scandalous — Olivia Pope’s name got leaked as POTUS mistress. Anyway, don’t look for the weekly Twitter rankers to forecast TV ratings. NCIS is going to be the week’s most watched program with an average audience of 20 million, followed by Big Bang Theory (18.2 million) and maybe Sunday football, which was a blowout game but appears to be on track to have averaged about 15 million-ish viewers, which will probably put it ahead of NCIS: LA (15.1 million). Also snagging a larger audience than Scandal: Tuesday’s The Voice (14.5 million) Monday’s The Voice (14.5 million), The Millers (13.1 million) Dancing With The Stars (13.1 million), Person Of Interest (12.4 million), The Crazy Ones (11.7 million), The Blacklist (11.4 million), Modern Family (11.1 million), and Criminal Minds (11.1 million).
As you can see, only three of the top ranking Twitter shows are going to finish in the Top 10 TV based on TV ratings.
Nielsen’s move into the space could help Twitter‘s plan to go public: It said last week in an SEC filing that while the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating won’t “directly generate revenue” for the social network company it “will enhance our attractiveness to users and advertisers.” Twitter added that it has value as “a second screen for television programming” and that ads on Twitter complement “offline advertising campaigns, such as television ads.” In its announcement, Nielsen said Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings are available for TV programming across over 215 English-language U.S. broadcast and cable networks. Nielsen is currently working with Twitter to accurately measure and report Spanish-language networks. Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings are a separate set of measures that complement traditional National TV Ratings.