Nielsen, the service most people know for counting how many people watch TV shows, plans to count how many people tweet about them, too.
Nielsen announced a partnership with Twitter that will result in a new count to measure viewer conversations via social media around particular TV shows. It will be called the "Nielsen Twitter TV Rating" and launch in the fall of 2013.
Nielsen's Twitter TV rating service is designed to complement its regular TV ratings in order to give advertisers and TV networks a standard measure of comparison for the social activity of TV audiences. (Well, they used to be called TV audiences; in the new media era, TV needs a new word for its users that reflects the conversations people are having around TV shows.) The Twitter TV rating service will aim to measure how many people are reading tweets about shows, not just how many people are sending those messages.
Nielsen recently bought SocialGuide, a startup specializing in social TV analytics.
TV social analytics are heating up as more people use tablets, laptops and smart phones to talk about the shows they watch in real time. It's part of the larger emerging field of social analytics and the relatively new discipline in the world of marketing, which is social monitoring.