Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

“Breaking Bad” Is Big on Twitter, Facebook — And TV, Too

breaking badIt wasn’t just your imagination: A lot of people were tweeting and Facebooking about “Breaking Bad” yesterday.

Just as important, at least for the people behind the show: A lot of people watched it, too.

At least by the standards of cable TV: AMC says 5.9 million people watched last night’s show, which kicks off the last season of the excellent cancer-ridden-science-teacher-becomes-meth-kingpin series. That’s up double from the first episode of last summer’s season.

The leap in online conversation about “Breaking Bad” was even bigger. “Social TV” chatter tracker Trendrr counted 1.18 million “interactions” about the show last night on Twitter, Facebook and other services. That’s way, way up from the 268,000 “Likes,” comments, etc., that Trendrr saw last year.*

So: What does that tell us, if anything, about the relationship between all that chatter and last night’s ratings?

Probably not that much. While Nielsen now says it has evidence that Twitter chatter can boost ratings for some shows, sometimes, it’s probably just as likely that last night’s ratings reflect other factors. Like weeks of publicity, as well as the series’ performance on Netflix, where the previous episodes are popular binge fare.

And while lots of people had lots to say about the show last night, in my feed there didn’t seem to be that much conversation during the show itself. Maybe that’s just the peculiarity of my feed, but my hunch is that “Breaking Bad” is a great show to talk about after the fact (and good luck avoiding spoilers the next day). But when “Breaking Bad” is on, I want to watch “Breaking Bad,” and I really don’t care what any of you have to say for that hour.

Nothing personal. Have an A-1 Day!

* Note that Nielsen’s SocialGuide counted 760,000 Tweets from 400,000 users for the same show. Given that Facebook has a much larger audience of TV chatterers than Twitter does, it’s hard to reconcile Trendrr’s numbers with Nielsen/SocialGuide’s, but that’s the nature of the social TV beast.


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