You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Twitter’s Biggest Hits of Past TV Season: Why Some Top-Rated Shows Miss Social Jackpot

The 2014 Super Bowl on Fox was most-tweeted TV program, while CBS hits weren't in top 10 of primetime series

There’s clearly some synergy between TV and social platforms like Twitter — but what’s big on television is not always what gets the most chatter online.

Unsurprisingly, major events drove the most TV-related tweets and engagement, according to Nielsen analysis of Twitter activity for the 2013-14 TV season. Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox scored as the most social TV event across all program types with 15.3 million people seeing a total of 1.8 billion tweets about the game and halftime show.

The Academy Awards and the Grammys also fared well. ABC’s Oscars telecast generated 1 billion Twitter TV impressions across 13.9 million users, thanks in large part to Ellen DeGeneres’ stunt-selfie that was retweeted 1.1 million times (and briefly knocked Twitter offline). The Grammys and @Pharrell’s giant hat notched 12.8 million unique users.

SEE ALSO: Twitter Kick: TV-Related Tweets Spur Most Users to Action, Twitter and Fox Study Says

But for primetime series, the results were not as predictable.

Consider that CBS had five of the top 10 broadcast shows for the 2013-14 season, per Nielsen (“The Big Bang Theory,” “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “Person of Interest” and “Blue Bloods”) — but none of those were among the top 10 most-tweeted shows.

AMC’s “Breaking Bad” set the record for Twitter reach of a single airing of a primetime show, with 9.1 million people seeing tweets during the finale, and the Bryan Cranston-starrer was No. 1 with an average Twitter audience of 6.0 million.

That was followed by AMC’s “Walking Dead” (5.2 million unique users on average), ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars” (4.8 million), ABC’s “The Bachelor” (3.6 million), HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (3.5 million), MTV’s “Teen Wolf” (3.3 million), FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” (2.8 million), ABC’s “Scandal” (2.4 million), NBC’s “The Voice” (2.3 million) and ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” (2.1 million).

Why is CBS big on TV but not Twitter? Simple demographics explain a lot: CBS still has the oldest audience among broadcasters with a median viewer age of 58. And older people use Twitter less. Just 9% of Americans 50-64 and 5% of those 65 and older used Twitter in 2013, compared to 31% of those 18-29 and 19% of those 30-49 according to Pew Research Center.

Meanwhile, certain shows have been built with Twitter in mind. “The Voice” on NBC set a record for most tweets during a telecast, with 1.92 million posted during the May 13 airing, according to Nielsen. The driver: The show prompted viewers to tweet #VoiceSave to rescue their favorite contestant; the hashtag was included in 1.5 million tweets.

To be sure, there’s not an exact correlation between Twitter activity and TV ratings. But TV networks that ignore Twitter — not to mention Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms — risk losing out on a key opportunity to bring more viewers, especially younger ones, into the fold. A study sponsored by Twitter and Fox found that 92% of Twitter users have taken immediate an action, like tune to live TV or search for a show, after seeing a tweet about a TV show.

Nielsen’s report covered TV-related activity on Twitter from Sept. 1, 2013, through May 25, 2014.

More TV

  • American dollars bills and coinsAmerican cash,

    Entertainment Biz Comes Under Fire for Assistants' Low Wages, Working Conditions

    It’s no secret that many assistants in Hollywood bear heavy workloads for low pay. But the entertainment industry’s labor practices when it comes to those workers have now become the subject of intense social-media scrutiny. TV writer and WGA board member Liz Alper shone a light on the issue Monday with the creation of the [...]

  • Megyn Kelly

    Tucker Carlson Plans Megyn Kelly Interview on Fox News Channel

    Megyn Kelly is returning to Fox News Channel – briefly. Tucker Carlson has scheduled an interview Wednesday with the former Fox News and NBC News anchor, who will make her first appearance on her former employer’s programming since leaving in early 2017. The “Tucker Carlson Tonight” segment would also mark Kelly’s first appearance on a [...]

  • Picture shows: Gemma Foster (SURANNE JONES)

    India's Hotstar to Remake BBC Thriller 'Doctor Foster'

    Hit BBC thriller “Doctor Foster” is to be remade in India following the sale of the scripted format to streaming platform Hotstar Specials. Disney-owned Hotstar has collaborated with BBC Studios to adapt the series for Indian audiences. Indian filmmakers Tigmanshu Dhulia and Aijza Khan are directing the show, which is yet to be titled and [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Watch Signs Content Pact With France's M6, Unveils European Short-Form Slate

    Facebook Watch has inked a content pact with French channel M6 and unveiled a slate of short-form content from European digital publishers for the platform. The deal with M6 will see the French broadcaster place spinoff programming from some of its hit shows on Facebook Watch. M6 will run pre- and after-show clips, interviews, and [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops ‘Marvelous

    TV News Roundup: Amazon Releases ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 3 Trailer

    In today TV’s news roundup, Amazon Prime Video releases the Season 3 trailer for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and Showtime announces Celeste Barber’s standup special premiere date.  DATES Showtime’s forthcoming comedy special “Celeste Barber: Challenge Accepted” will air Nov. 1.  This marks Barber’s televised standup debut. She is best-known for her viral Instagram hashtag #celestechallengedaccepted. [...]

  • Tom Succession

    'Succession': Matthew Macfadyen on the Status of 'Tomelette' After Season 2 Finale

    Matthew Macfadyen hasn’t even seen the second season finale of “Succession” yet, but says he wasn’t surprised by how it ended when he read the script. Over the course of the series, Macfadyen’s character Tom has suffered at the expense of the Roy family on personal and professional levels. Will he turn a new leaf [...]

  • Jason Sudeikis Apple

    Jason Sudeikis Sets Ted Lasso Comedy Series at Apple

    Jason Sudeikis is bringing his Ted Lasso character to Apple’s upcoming streaming service. Variety has learned that Apple TV Plus has given a series order to “Ted Lasso,” on which Sudeikis will star in addition to writing and executive producing. In the series, Sudeikis plays Lasso, an idealistic all-American football coach hired to manage an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content