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Presidential Debates Dominate the Week on Twitter

Two political debates – one from each political party – led Twitter among specials for the week of Dec. 14. Topping all televised events (including sports) was CNN’s telecast of the fifth Republican Presidential debate. According to Nielsen, the Dec. 15 event totaled 2.4 million tweets written by 490,000 unique authors, which were seen by a unique audience of 8.49 million people (generating 306.64 million Twitter TV impressions). The night’s most notable moment was when Donald Trump came back at Jeb Bush’s claim that one cannot “insult” their way to the presidency, stating that Bush’s decreasing poll numbers may result in Bush falling off the debate stage.

The third Democratic Presidential debate (5.16 million Unique Audience/850,000 tweets/176,000 unique authors/103.75 million impressions) involving candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley was runner-up on the series and specials list. It took place in New Hampshire and aired on ABC on Saturday, Dec. 19. Clinton, who remains the clear front-runner of the Democratic Party, concluded her night with a nod to the film “Star Wars” stating “… and may the force be with you.”

Fall finales of two reality shows produced by Mark Burnett reached the top ten: NBC’s “The Voice” (2.93 million Unique Audience/206,000 tweets/88,000 unique authors/11.53 million impressions) from Dec. 15 that featured Jordan Smith of Team Adam Levine awarded as the winner and CBS’s “Survivor Cambodia: Second Chance” (1.09 million Unique Audience/88,000 tweets/26,000 unique authors/9.15 million impressions) from Dec. 16 which saw firefighter Jeremy Collins win $1 million by a 10-0 jury vote.

Adele is a big hit in the music business with already selling 5 million copies of her new “25” album in the U.S. alone, propelling much interest in her Dec. 14 music special, NBC’s “Adele Live in New York City” (2.41 million Unique Audience/121,000 tweets/68,000 unique authors/8.5 million impressions). She performed most of her big hits including “Someone Like You” and “Rolling in the Deep.”

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler made a triumphant return to NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” (1.38 million Unique Audience/57,000 tweets/28,000 unique authors/5.47 million impressions) as hosts of the Dec. 19 edition, to help promote their new comedic flick, “Sisters.” Bruce Springsteen was the show’s musical guest.

Two NFL games featuring the New York Giants were the top two sports entries of the week. Carolina Panthers’ 38-35 win over the Giants on Fox on Dec. 20 totaled 872,000 tweets written by 347,000 unique authors, which were seen by a unique audience of 7.69 million people (generating 96.99 million Twitter TV impressions). The Giants overcame a 35-7 deficit to tie it 35-35 until the Panthers won it with a late-second field goal. Throughout the game, Giants star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Panthers’ defender Josh Norman each took cheap shots at each other – Beckham making more egregious actions, causing a one-game suspension. The Carolina Panthers extended their season record to 14-0. It is the best start ever for an NFC team to an NFL season. It’s the second consecutive week the Panthers were featured in a week’s top televised sporting event on Twitter.

Earlier in the week, the Giants’ 31-24 win over the Miami Dolphins on the Dec. 14 edition of ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (5.40 million Unique Audience/318,000 tweets/147,000 unique authors/46.04 million impressions) was the week’s second most social sporting event on Twitter.

The Women’s Soccer
Friendly: United States vs. China
(4.40 million Unique Audience/166,000 tweets/81,000 unique authors/20.14 million impressions) on FS1 on Dec. 16 ranked seventh on the week’s sports Twitter list. It was the final game for legendary American soccer player Abby Wambach.

Most-Tweeted Minutes from the Top 3 Series and Specials:

  • 19,500 Tweets were sent at 10:19pm EST on Tuesday, 12/15 about CNN Republican Debate following an exchange between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush.
  • 6,800 Tweets were sent at 10:50pm EST on Saturday, 12/19 about Democratic Debate following Hilary Clinton’s closing remarks.
  • 4,300 Tweets were sent at 10:59pm EST on Tuesday, 12/15 about “The Voice” after Jordan Smith was announced as the Season 9 winner of The Voice.

Most-Tweeted Minutes from the Top 3 Sports Events:

  • 22,300 Tweets were sent at 4:27pm EST on Sunday, 12/20 about NFL Football: Carolina Panthers at New York Giants after Panthers’ kicker, Graham Gano, kicked the game-winning field goal.
  • 5,700 Tweets were sent at 11:08pm EST on Monday, 12/14 about NFL Football: New York Giants at Miami Dolphins after Giants’ wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., scored a touchdown.
  • 7,300 Tweets were sent at 7:57pm EST on Sunday, 12/20 about Denver Broncos at Pittsburg Steelers after the Steelers defeated the Broncos.

According to Nielsen: Activity metrics (Unique Authors and Tweets) are a measure of relevant Twitter activity from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Reach metrics (Unique Audience and Impressions) measure the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets are sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. For the series and specials list, the data includes new/live primetime and late fringe episodes only and excludes sports events. Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings are only available for English-language U.S. Broadcast and Cable Networks.

Unique Audience – The total number of distinct Twitter accounts accruing at least one impression of one or more different Tweets ascribed to a TV episode.

Source: Nielsen



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Written by Douglas Pucci

Douglas Pucci (a.k.a. “Son of the Bronx”) has worked with Mr. Berman for more than a decade. A Bronx native, NYU graduate and once-intern for VH1's "Pop Up Video," Pucci went on to design, build and maintain websites for various non-profit organizations in his hometown of New York City. He also contributes to the sports website Awful Announcing.

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