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November 28, 2014

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‘Breaking Bad’ leads popularity of TV on Twitter

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It’s hard to believe one of the greatest shows in TV history is about to come to an end. But we have little doubt Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan will leave no loose ends.

NEW YORK — AMC's "Breaking Bad" is the champion of a new television metric: more second-screen activity on Twitter than any other TV series this past season.

The Nielsen company, for the first time, is measuring how many people are reading tweets about particular TV programs the night they are on the air. "Breaking Bad," the drug-dealing drama starring Bryan Cranston, is the initial champion, with an average of 6 million people seeing tweets during each episode and the three hours both before and after, Nielsen said Monday.

Last September's action-packed series finale hit 9.1 million, boosting the season average.

The new measurement coincides both with an increased interest in consumer second-screen activity and an agreement between Nielsen and Twitter last summer that the longtime television measurement company would begin following tweets, too.

Another AMC series, "The Walking Dead," came in second with an average of 5.17 million people seeing tweets about each episode. Three ABC series — "The Bachelor," ''Scandal" and "Dancing With the Stars" — finished in the top 10 of the new measurement.

By contrast, people who watched television's most popular scripted show this season — "NCIS" on CBS — were more interested in watching than in social media. Nielsen said 246,000 people saw a tweet about the show during a typical episode.

For individual events, the Super Bowl and Oscars led the way, just as each year both events generally have more viewers than anything else on television. Nielsen said 15.3 million people saw tweets about football's championship game between Seattle and Denver, and 13.9 million saw Academy Awards tweets.

The Oscars had more than 1 billion impressions, meaning the average Twitter user who followed the awards show saw an average of 75 tweets.

The Grammys, however, eclipsed the Oscars in terms of the number of tweets actually sent out by people (13.8 million to 11.2 million), Nielsen said.

A Univision program, "Nuestra Belleza Latina," had the busiest Twitter followers. Each person tweeting about the program sent an average of 8.3 messages about the show.

The May 13 episode of "The Voice" set a tweets-per-minute standard. At 8:59 p.m. EDT, there were 310,000 Twitter messages sent.

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