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NBA Wins Big In Twitter TV ratings

Deadline's David Bloom explains to Dominic Patten how Nielsen is reaching into Twitter and social media to track what people are watching on TV.

The NBA and ESPN scored on both ends of the court in last week’s Twitter TV ratings from Nielsen, with the league’s show built around the draw for its annual draft lottery atop one Top 10 and a playoff showdown between the  Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers leading the other. Nielsen launched the Twitter TV ratings this year to track the size of the audience on Twitter seeing posts about a given show during and for the three-hour period before and after its initial airing. Nielsen tracks the tweets about each show and counts how many unduplicated followers of all those accounts were reached by the posts.

Twitter TV Ratings S&S Chart 201405027 05-27-14, 11.45.19 AM

This week was dominated by the NBA, deep in its conference championship playoffs and with the annual show to determine who would get the No. 1 choice in the league’s June draft. The draft lottery, which saw the Cleveland Cavaliers land the top pick for the third time in four years, attracted about 460,000 posts that reached nearly 5.9 million unique viewers. That’s a big audience in the Series & Specials list, but only about half that for the NFL’s primetime broadcast of the first day of its annual draft a couple of weeks ago. Reality competitions dominated much of the rest of the Series & Specials top 10, led by episodes of The Voice at 3 and 5 and Dancing With the Stars at 6 and 9. The Bachelorette, for the first time, and American Idol also placed in the top 10. Interestingly, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta had far and away the most tweets about a show in the Series & Specials top 10, but those were seen by a much smaller audience, only half that of the NBA Lottery.

Twitter TV Ratings Sports Chart 201405027

On the sports side, NBA games on ESPN and TNT occupied five of the top six slots, interrupted only by European soccer’s UEFA Champions League final on Fox between crosstown rivals Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid. The NBA game between two-time defending champ Heat and the Pacers, who had the league’s best regular-season record, sparked 932,000 tweets that reached nearly 7 million unique audience members. The Indy 500 finished seventh, followed by three NHL playoff games, again conference championships that this year involve teams from three top U.S. TV markets and the most storied Canadian franchise, Montreal.