By: Keith Nelson Jr (@JusAire)
Unique Authors: Number of Twitter accounts that sent at least one tweet about TV Show
Impressions: Number of times a tweet related to the TV show was seen
Unique Audience: Number of Twitter accounts which had at least one Impression.
America, just remember…you did this.
This past Saturday (November 15th), the Lifetime Network continued its assassination of Black history with their biopic Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B. Thinkpieces were written, memes were born and misery, along with its millions of companions were leading the charge. People hated the show before, during and after it premiered. The result?
Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B: 3,443,000 unique audience / 56,263,000 impressions (16.34 impressions per audience member) / 258,000 unique authors / 997,000 tweets (3.86 tweets per author) / 3.2 million live+same day TV viewers (1.7 milion for adults 18-49)
The Walking Dead: 3,334,000 unique audience / 14,407,000 impressions (4.32 impressions per audience member) / 108,000 unique authors / 266,000 tweets (2.42 tweets peh author) / 14.06 million live+same day TV viewers (7.3 million for adults 18-49)
Scandal: 2,565,000 unique audience / 17,490,000 impressions (6.81 impressions per audience member) / 77,000 unique authors / 306,000 tweets (3.97 tweets per author) / 9.8 million live+same day TV viewers / (3.2 million for adults 18-49)
There were more tweets about Aaliyah: Princess of R&B (922,000) than the rest of the Top 5 on the Twitter TV Charts (Scandal, Walking Dead, 30 for 30: Rand University, The Hollywood Film Awards) combined (784,000). Aaliyah may have had the voice of an angel, but her calculations were a bit off: Age is A LOT more than a number.
55% of all Twitter users, as of the beginning of this year, are between the ages of 18-49, according to a Pew Research study. Neither Scandal nor The Walking Dead had as high a percentage of their live viewers residing in the 18-49 age range or a higher percentage of their unique audience on Twitter tweeting about the shows as Lifetime's Aaliyah: Princess of R&B. If you are between the ages of 18-29 (35%) then chances are you grew up with the precocious Aaliyah and were no older than 16 years old (six years younger than Aaliyah) when she tragically passed on August 25th, 2001. She was/is baby girl. No matter if the leading actress didn't look like her, no one in her family agreed to the movie, none of Aaliyah's original songs would be used and Wendy Williams was executive producing , we were all still going to willfully dedicate a portion of our Saturday night to this debacle.
And just like R. Kelly's (alleged) urine…we can never unsee the stream of torture that followed but them tweets gon' flow (just like R. Kelly's..ok, I'll stop):
In the sage (and altered) words of Wendy Williams: Good or bad, at least you tweeted.
But what does Twitter dominance in the midst of feverish backlash infer about judging TV shows? When vitriol and praise lie on the same spectrum of a scoring system, what is the value of ratings?
Conventional rating systems have always been glitchy and incomplete at best and inherent one-way windows into the American population at worst. In my 320+ months of life I have never, nor have I known anyone who has seen or participated in the Neilsen rating system. Even though Twitter has barely 15% of the U.S. population using it, the blue bird offers a more comprehensive gauge of the experience of the TV viewer rather than simply a tally of their TV surfing since roughly 72% of U.S. TV viewers tweet while watching TV. Therein lies the hidden gift and curse of Twitter TV ratings. They place the measurement of popularity in the hands of a larger and more active segment of America. But, without quality control and value system which deducts for negative tweets and rewards for positive ones, this could turn Twitter trolls into marketing gold and generally hated shows into hits.
Imagine if T.V. studios were incentivized by additional advertising money to create shows that will be popular on a social media platform that will hate something into the #1 spot. This year, a show was created (and ultimately cancelled) called Selfie, so anything is possible. Twitter already has two charts on Billboard which track music being shared on Twitter from Emerging Artists and all artists. With the NFL striking a lucrative deal with Twitter and U.S. advertisers predicted to favor spending on digital ads over TV ads by 2016, misery and its company may run your TV programming for the foreseeable future. Grab a seat on the couch.
Until next time...