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TV Season in Review: Biggest Moments on Twitter
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TV Season in Review: Biggest Moments on Twitter

Throughout this TV season, fans have taken to Twitter to discuss edge-of-your-seat moments and minute-by-minute action. Whether to celebrate a game winning shot, mourn a fallen character or gasp at a scandalous plot twist, thumbs across the U.S. tapped furiously, sending millions of Tweets and generating over a billion impressions on average each week.

Fans watching programs live shared experiences together, while their Tweets, according to recent research from Nielsen Social, may have reminded others to catch-up later in the week. So, as this TV season comes to an end, it’s time to recap how series programs, special events and sports events captivated audiences on Twitter in the U.S. this season from Sept. 1, 2014, through May 24, 2015.

Top TV Series on Twitter

Series program buzz started early and continued throughout the season, with a recent study finding that 68% of program-related activity on average takes place during live airings each week. “The Walking Dead” on AMC started the season off with a bang: 1.3 million Tweets were sent about the premiere episode on Oct. 12, 2014, reaching 7.4 million people throughout the night. The series also had the largest audience on Twitter throughout the season, with 4.3 million people seeing Tweets about each new episode on average.

In its first season, “Empire” on FOX also took Twitter by storm: A total of 2.4 million Tweets were sent about the two-part finale on March 18, 2015. This made it the most Tweeted series episode this season and since Nielsen Social began tracking TV-related Twitter activity in October 2011. Activity peaked as the final episode drew to a close at 10 p.m. EST with 51,000 Tweets sent in that minute alone—the most Tweeted minute for any drama series this season.

Reality competition programs also kept audiences’ attention both on screen and on Twitter. “The Bachelor” on ABC set this season’s record for most impressions (total number of times Tweets were seen) per episode. “Nuestra Belleza Latina” on Univision similarly enticed audiences on Twitter—on April 5, 2015, each person in the Twitter TV audience saw a total of 22 Tweets about the program, the most impressions per person across all series episodes this season.

Across all series programs, which episode this season had the most people keeping up with the on-screen excitement on Twitter? On Feb. 15, 2015, Saturday Night Live on NBC set the record with Tweets about the SNL 40th Anniversary Special seen by a Twitter TV Audience of 9.1 million people. 

Top Special Events on Twitter

Energized audiences continued to take to Twitter during live TV events this season. “The 57th Annual Grammy Awards” on CBS on Feb. 8, 2015, created the biggest splash with 13.4 million Tweets sent about the awards show. Tweets about the event were seen by an audience of 13.3 million people on Twitter.

Top Sports Events on Twitter

Sports events again drew audiences in mass to Twitter’s real-time stadium. “Super Bowl XLIX” on NBC on Feb. 1, 2015, was the biggest TV event on Twitter across all of TV this season with 16.1 million people seeing Tweets about the game, halftime show and ads. A total of 25.1 million Tweets were sent about the event, not only keeping audiences connected but also creating opportunities for brands to maximize earned media from their paid TV placements. The most Tweeted TV minute this season also took place during the Super Bowl with 243,000 event-related Tweets sent at 8:19 p.m. on the night of the big game.

To sum it all up, this TV season has been a roller coaster of drama, suspense, comedy and excitement, with TV fans sending Tweets about every twist and turn along the way. Fans weren’t the only ones with their eyes on Twitter this season. Networks, agencies, and advertisers also kept the pulse of Twitter TV conversation for three reasons:  

  1. Social TV is indicative of more than just the engagement of viewers on Twitter. Recent research determined that conversation on Twitter can be used as a bellwether for the engagement of general viewing audiences.
  2. Understanding the activity and reach of social conversation around TV is an opportunity for networks and agencies to begin to connect the dots between earned media and audience tune-in.
  3. For advertisers looking to maximize social buzz around their brands, social TV data can surface a goldmine of opportunities to boost earned media through paid TV placements, sponsorships and integrations.

So regardless of whether fans were cheering on their favorite reality star, celebrating a touchdown or sharing in a collective gasp over a jaw-dropping moment on stage, social TV offered non-stop connections to consumers as they experienced TV programming throughout this season.