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In Movies & TV Commentary

Twitter and Nielsen are teaming up for a new TV rating system.

Twitter offers new way to rate TV shows

It's not a perfect system, but TV outlets have for decades looked to Nielsen to provide a reasonable measure of who is watching what and when. Now, Nielsen is teaming up with Twitter to provide a new ratings system.

"As the experience of TV viewing continues to evolve, our TV partners have consistently asked for one common benchmark from which to measure the engagement of their programming," said Twitter VP of media, Chloe Sladden, on the social media platform's blog. "This new metric is intended to answer that request, and to act as a complement and companion to the Nielsen TV rating."

Twitter isn't the only medium that has been tracking and wanting into the TV world. GetGlue has been offering check-in stickers for the past few years and tracks social engagement, offering a weekly Top 10 list. Facebook and other startups have attempted to get into this arena as well.

Nielsen makes a few dollars at the ratings game, providing local and national outlets with viewership numbers within a market based on the choices a few households make in a given area. It holds its mathematical formulas pretty close to the vest and then sells its service to TV stations. The stations then use that information to sell advertisers spots on the air.

"As a media-measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data," Steve Hasker of Nielsen said in a statement.

The new "Nielsen Twitter TV Rating" will measure the social TV activity and audience exposed (followers) to it.

TRAGEDY ON TV: Yesterday I addressed the media coverage surrounding the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in the community of Newtown, Conn. Local TV outlets have been covering the news, too, and WITI-TV Fox 6 will be airing special coverage at 9 p.m. tonight.

"Tragedy at Sandy Hook: Healing and Helping," hosted by Ted Perry, Brad Hicks, Mary Stoker Smith and Anne State, will take a look at the issues we as a community are facing in the wake of the shootings. The program will tackle how to talk to kids, what role faith plays in helping us heal and the gun control debate.

COLLEGE HOOPS: CBS Sports Network is debuting three shows this week covering NCAA Division 1 basketball. "Courtside With Seth Davis" hits the air tonight at 6 p.m. Throughout the season, the show will feature a variety of high-profile guests including coaches, players, writers and broadcasters. A one-hour round-table show "Inside College Basketball" airs at 9 p.m. tonight.

"Wally's World" with Wally Szczerbiak will first air on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The half-hour program will focus on trends and buzz around the basketball world. You may not be a huge college hoops fan, but watching these shows may help in filling out your tournament brackets this March.

NO SKETCH HERE: "Saturday Night Live" dropped the opening sketch comedy when it aired Saturday, following the mass killings in Newtown, Conn., the day before. In a touching moment, they instead went with a performance of "Silent Night." Kudos to the staff for doing the right thing here:


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