The advancement in technology and the growing media space within the average Australian’s life, the way people watch television has completely changed. The need to sit down in front of the television every night to keep up your with favourite TV show has gone, as Australian audiences increasingly rely on the Internet and technological devices to stream, legally or illegally download content or simply use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to keep up with a TV program.
So, when it comes to measuring modern day television audiences in Australia, I think it’s fair to say that, Oztam, the official source of television audience measurement in Australia, who are still using the traditional method of pen to paper, knocking on a few thousand doors in just some of Australia’s main cities, probably aren’t capturing realistic figures from this changing television audience.
So with this in mind, as I happened to catch some of The Block this week and noticed a constant stream of tweets from other audience members appearing on the show using the hashtag #theblock and a constant push from the show asking audiences to tweet and participate on their online TV page Jump in. This got me wondering whether encouraging audiences to tweet wasn’t just for audience benefit but a tool for Television networks attempt to measure the audience watching their programs on TV or online each and every night.
The idea of using social media as a tool for gaining more accurate television audience ratings isn’t a brand new concept and has been in place in the US and Italy for a while (Wood 2014).
Nielsen, the global information and measurement company that has provided these serviced will this year open its doors in Australia becoming our first ever official Twitter TV Ratings provider. The company will accurately measure and understand TV related conversations on Twitter and then make it available to Australian advertisers and Television Networks (Hsieh 2014).
This new take on measuring audiences does beg the question, is this any more accurate than the traditional method? At this stage with still a large portion of the population not twitter and if they are, not using it to discuss TV viewing, probably not. But I believe it’s a step in the right direction. This method can look at all places around Australia rather than a select few and has the capacity to look at each individual rather than a select household.
Hsieh, J 2014, ‘Media Monday: TV x Twitter arrives in Australia with ratings integration by Nielson’,
Marketing Magazine, 7 April, Viewed 16 August, <http://www.marketingmag.com.au/news/media-monday-tv-x-twitter-arrives-in-australia-with-ratings-integration-by-nielsen-51470/#.U_q4APmSwps>.
Wood, P 2014, ‘Experts question Twitter’s Australian TV ratings plan’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 April, viewed 16 August, <SMH http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/experts-question-twitters-australian-tv-ratings-plan-20140401-35xig.html>.