Summer Olympics, 'SpongeBob' drive huge surge in activity

Measuring viewing interest and passion for television shows via social media was a big topic in 2012.

Nielsen announced earlier this month a pact with Twitter to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating,” and Trendrr on Thursday will announce that the year saw a significant surge in social interactions surrounding TV programs.

The second annual Year End Stats Report from Trendrr includes data tracked via Twitter, public pages on Facebook and applications such as Get Glue and Viggle. For the year (period covers through November), Trendrr measured more than 800 million social interactions around TV programs on their day of air; taking into consideration all the chatter surrounding programs when off air, that number would reach into the billions, the social TV analytics company said.

An early look at the data reveals August as the most interactive month — thanks to 17 days of the Summer Olympics on the networks of NBC — but every month of 2012 drew at least double the number of social interactions than the same month in 2011.

Overall, the year saw a huge 800% growth of social TV chatter on Twitter, and it more than doubled on Facebook and in Apps.

For a second straight year, Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” was the entertainment program with the most social activity, accounting for nearly 25 million social interactions. Also high on the list were Fox’s “The X Factor” (about 17 million), NBC’s “The Voice” (11.5 million), USA’s “WWE Raw” (11 million) and ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” (10.5 million), which holds the record for a single episode (1.52 million interactions for its mid-season finale).

Among networks, NBC was on top with about 150 million interactions, with ABC and Fox the next closest with about 75 million. CBS was fourth (about 60 million), followed by top cablers ESPN (50 million) and MTV (40 million). According to Trendrr, Fox leaps to the lead if you exclude all sports and special programming.

The most engaging telecasts by month, Trendrr estimates, were the Golden Globe Awards on NBC in January; the Super Bowl on NBC in February (with the Grammys on CBS a solid second); the Kids Choice Awards on Nickelodeon in March; Wrestlemania 28 on NBC for April; the UEFA Champions League Soccer match between Bayern Munich and Chelsea on Fox in May; the NBA Finals on ABC in June; the BET Awards on BET in July; the Closing Ceremony of the London Games on NBC in August; the MTV Video Music Awards on MTV in September; the BET Hip Hop Awards on BET in October; and the MTV Europe Music Awards on MTV2 in November.

Sports accounts for a third of the market, underlining the real-time nature of social TV. It’s also not surprising that reality contests are the second most popular genre.

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