From a presentation this week at the Social TV Summit (Yes, I too didn’t know this conference even existed):
The correlation with ratings [and Tweets] is much stronger. When you look at the volume of same-day Tweets about a show, it’s a significant factor in explaining that show’s ratings. “If Nielsen’s our blood pressure, I’d like you to think of Twitter as our heartbeat. It’s the EKG of attention around a show.”
This is just another example of why Steve Jobs and so many others have been obsessed with distrupting the TV industry. The Neilsen ratings model of TV measurement has always been fundamentally broken. Digital TV services (Apple TV, Boxee, Roku, etc.) and services like Twitter and IntoNow now give marketers, advertisers and media companies the opportunity to mash up data sources and extract a level of insight never before seen.
Twitter alone can deliver a depth of knowledge at the aggregate level is pretty staggering and this is just another example of that. Services like DataSift and Gnip enable you to tap into the Twitter firehose and dig into some pretty amazing insights that can help inform so many business decisions.