ABC Family‘s summertime guilty pleasure Pretty Little Liars once again topped Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings for series and specials for the week, while on the sports side, it was all World Cup all the time, and by a wide margin, led by the first two games of the U.S. team in first-round play. The Nielsen Twitter TV ratings attempt to measure the total unduplicated audience of people who saw tweets about a given show during its first broadcast and for the three hours before and after that broadcast. Nielsen breaks its ratings into two weekly top 10s (they’ll be releasing dailies this week on the World Cup numbers as interest intensifies heading into the final first-round games), one for sporting events and the other for series and specials.
On the sports side, with the NHL and NBA finals finished, Major League Baseball barely a third of the way into its long season and no other distractions on the global sports calendar, the rankings were all World Cup games, led by massive social-media audiences for broadcasts of the U.S. team against Ghana (a win) and highly ranked Portugal (a dramatic draw when Portugal scored in the game’s last minute). The matchup between host country Brazil and Mexico, with its massive U.S. fan base, was third. The Twitter TV audience for even the tenth-biggest World Cup game was still half again larger than the biggest non-sports show in Nielsen’s numbers, a testament to the hold the World Cup had even on North American audiences not previously known for soccer passions.
On the series side, Pretty Little Liars was No. 1 for the second straight week, but against an admittedly limp summer lineup of scripted and reality shows that don’t feature many of the social-media powerhouses of recent months, such as The Voice, American Idol, Scandal and Game of Thrones. It also attracted less than half as many tweets as the previous week, but still reached 3.9 million viewers. Top 10 regular WWE Monday Night Raw, normally hovering at about No. 7 or 8, crept up into second place as a result, and new music-competition show Rising Star, the imported format from Israel’s Keshet hit No. 4. Another awards show, the Critics Choice TV Awards (where do they find all of these awards shows at all times of the year?) managed to come in at 8. Of note, ABC’s The Bachelorette ended up No. 3, despite a relatively small number of tweets compared to the other shows immediately around it. That means the people tweeting about the show have relatively big individual audiences each. My colleague Lisa de Moraes wrote recently about the surprisingly wealthy, young and highly educated audience that Nielsen says is watching The Bachelor and its sibling The Bachelorette. Consider this data as suggestive that the show’s fans are really well connected online too.
As always, Nielsen issues a batch of caveats with its numbers, especially in a week where four different U.S. networks are carrying each of the World Cup games. Per Nielsen: “Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets were sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. The data includes new/live primetime and late fringe episodes only and excludes sports events. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks, denoted with an asterisk.”