NEW YORK — Tweet this: Millions of viewers were firing off those 140-character texts while they watched TV in the season just past. And there were plenty of people reading them.
Nielsen Social has tracked all that digital back-and-forth, and is releasing a report on television-related Twitter activity in the U.S. from Sept. 1, 2014 through May 24, 2015. And while CBS consistently tops the weekly Nielsen ratings for viewers, it’s an also-ran when it comes to Twitter.
“Empire” (Fox) was not only a ratings hit in its first season but also a Twitter sensation. A total of 2.4 million tweets were sent addressing the March 18 finale. This made this two-part conclusion the most tweeted series episode since Nielsen Social began tracking TV-related Twitter activity nearly four years ago.
The “Saturday Night Live” 40th anniversary special (NBC, Feb. 15) set the record among all series for the size of the Twitter TV audience, 9.1 million people, with 1.3 million tweets sent.
But that was dwarfed by “The 57th Annual Grammy Awards” (CBS, Feb. 8), the season’s top entertainment special, with 13.4 million tweets sent. They were seen by an audience of 13.3 million people. A close second: “The Oscars” (ABC, Feb. 22), with a Twitter TV audience of 13.0 million.
Not surprisingly, “Super Bowl XLIX” (NBC, Feb. 1) was the biggest TV event of all on Twitter this season with 16.1 million people seeing tweets about the game, halftime show and ads. A total of 25.1 million tweets were sent.
“The Walking Dead” (AMC) roused a siege of tweeters to take the lead among series. A total of 1.3 million tweets were sent about the premiere episode on Oct. 12, 2014, reaching 7.4 million people throughout the night. The series had the largest audience on Twitter throughout the season with an average 4.3 million people seeing tweets about each new episode.
“Dead” was followed in the season-average rankings by “The Bachelor” (ABC), “Game of Thrones” (HBO), “American Horror Story: Freak Show” (Fox) and “Empire.” But the eighth-ranked series was a bit of a surprise: the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” which, concluding an acclaimed but none-too-splashy seven-season run, was never a hit among the broader viewing audience. Even so, its Twitter TV audience averaged 2.2 million socially engaged viewers. That’s a reminder that, increasingly in the digital age, there’s more than one way to be a hit.