NBC’s Peter Pan Live flew past a gaggle of other holiday and awards shows to win the week’s Twitter TV ratings, Nielsen said, though it was still far behind the two biggest NFL games and even a blowout college match that propelled Ohio State into the first national championship playoff.
All told, about 5.3 million unduplicated Twitter users saw 475,000 posts about the live staging of beloved children’s musical Peter Pan. The broadcast seemed perfectly built for Twitter attention, and NBC pushed the project hard on social media just to make sure.
It released a lengthy “making-of” video on YouTube several days before the event, and the hashtag #PeterPanLive took off online in the days ahead of Thursday night’s broadcast. Star Allison Williams even joined Facebook about a week before the show. The company also commissioned Maker Studios to pull together a dance-oriented musical mashup of a Pan song featuring online star Alex G and the show’s cast that now has about 706,000 views on YouTube.
Given the pleasure some “hate-watchers” took in snarking about the lanky Williams as an unlikely (though quite talented) Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up and weirdly magnetic Christopher Walken soft-shoeing through Captain Hook, it’s almost surprising there wasn’t more online commentary. Perhaps the production turned out to be pleasant enough to blunt the worst of the online haters.
Regardless, Pan was hardly the only special programming dotting this week’s top 10. Tree-lighting in Rockefeller Center, that controversial Discovery show on the man who was(n’t) eaten by a snake, a Grammy Xmas show and CMT’s dual broadcast of its Artists of the Year special all made an appearance, alongside regulars The Voice (two episodes), WWE and American Horror Story: Freak Show.
The next-to-last episode of Sons of Anarchy also jumped into the gang with plenty of cast-wide mayhem, and some side controversy after a book detailing all the dead characters was prematurely released. Prospects for Tuesday night’s grand (Guignol) finale boggle the mind.
On the sports side, games involving the NFL’s two biggest national draws, the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys, topped the ratings comfortably ahead of Pan and far ahead of everything else. The Pats-Chicago game drew 527,000 tweets seen by 6.3 million people.
For once, however, college football ran past many NFL games in a moderately big way in the Twitter TV ratings. Three conference championships – for the Big Ten, SEC and ACC – helped decide three of the four teams invited to the first playoffs for the national title. Even the playoff selection show on ESPN drew a 3.4 broadcast rating overnight in its first 30 minutes, the sports network said, though it didn’t crack the Twitter TV ratings.
Surprisingly, the most-tweeted college game involved Ohio State, which blew out a highly regarded Wisconsin team 59-0 to ease into the championship playoffs. OSU will be playing Alabama, which beat my beloved Missouri Tigers like a moderate-sized drum in the SEC championship. And defending champ Florida State kept its record, and championship repeat hopes, unblemished despite a tough game against Georgia Tech.
The resulting two semifinal games on New Year’s Day should be huge, on TV and on Twitter. And that is, actually, the point of the college football playoffs.
Nielsen always adds some caveats and explanations for its numbers, especially when multiple networks are involved in the same broadcast:
Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before through three hours after broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to a program from when the Tweets are sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. Sports Events include those on Broadcast and National Cable Networks only across all day parts. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks.