The pros of twittering TV


Big TV events – the Super Bowl, the Oscars, the annual American Idol finale – aren’t just good for the networks that air them, they’re also good for the Internet.

The number of viewers who are simultaneously online is increasing every year, reports Nielsen Wire. On average, 10% of TV viewers are also visiting social networks such as Facebook or Twitter or browsing the Web during major events.

During this year’s high-rated Oscars, with almost one-third of the available TV audience tuning in to the broadcast, more than 13% of viewers were also on the Web. Comparatively, nearly 26% of TV households watched the 2009 Oscars, with 8.7% surfing the Web simultaneously.

That trend held true for the Super Bowl as well, with 47.4% of households watching the underdog New Orleans Saints beat the favored Indianapolis Colts and 14.5% hanging out on line to tweet about it. Last year, more households – 49.1% — watched the game, but fewer people, 12.8%, were online.

Lesson learned? The Internet may be fragmenting people’s time, but it only helps big-event TV. We’re social animals and we love to experience those cultural events together – hence Oscar parties and Super Bowl parties – and participating online is nothing if not one big virtual party. And no one has to deplete their wallet or mess up their kitchen to throw an online party, although I’m still a fan of the old-fashioned way of watching TV’s biggest events: lots of friends, lots of food, lots of fun.