How social media can make or break a show

Sarah Menendez Jan 20, 2016

When a new episode of shows like “Pretty Little Liars,” “Supernatural” and “The Walking Dead” airs, the action on Twitter can be just as important to producers as the action on screen. Nielsen, the company that tracks TV ratings, announced that they will be launching “Social Content Ratings” including Twitter and Facebook conversations about television programs.

Each of these shows have millions of followers on Twitter and have staff that actively retweet fans during episodes as well as when the show is off season.

A while back we talked to Pretty Little Liar’s Executive Producer Marlene King about the importance of social media for her show.

King said that “Twitter ratings” can be just as important as the number of people watching live.

“We’ve noticed if we have a very high amount of tweets during an episode that the ratings are significantly higher too,” said King. “That Twitter noise, I call it, is usually reflected in the live ratings.”

That noise is loud all over social media with fans posting year-round on blogs and Twitter accounts devoted to the shows.

The activity on social media is so expansive and powerful for a show like Pretty Little Liars, King said, that it can even be a deciding factor on when the show goes off air.

“I’ve always said that when we see those numbers go away, then it’s probably time for us to wrap it up,” she said. “[Social media] a part of what this show is and it’s a great measure of how excited fans are to watch what we are doing and we want to stay here as long as we are relevant … so in that regard it is a pretty good barometer for us.”

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