Twitter was one of the stars that shone most brightly during last night's Oscars broadcast, and the viewing audience responded on their second screens.
There were 11.2 million tweets in the U.S. about the Oscars last night, a 75% increase over last year's 6.4 million, according to Nielsen SocialGuide. It's the sort of strong growth in social TV chatter that Twitter needs to help sell advertisers on TV-related ad products like its Amplify program.
Growth during recent tentpole TV events has been patchy at best and all over the board. Twitter chatter from the Super Bowl this year was down slightly from last year, off 3%, while the conversation during the Grammys was up 9%. Last month's NBA All-Star Game saw a 21% decline, while January's Golden Globes saw tweets go up considerably, growing 39%.
The surge in Oscars tweet volume may have been partly due to an uptick in TV ratings. The Academy Awards averaged 43 million viewers on Sunday, up from 40.4 million last year and enough to make it the most-watched TV entertainment program since the finale of "Friends" in 2004.
But Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres's numerous mentions of Twitter, not to mention her direct call to action when she asked fans to make her celebrity group selfie shot the most retweeted tweet all of time, had to have helped boost the tweet total.
As of this afternoon, that tweet had garnered 2.9 million retweets globally.
Nielsen SocialGuide also reported that 2.8 unique U.S. Twitter users posted tweets about the Oscars, and that 13.9 million people saw those tweets. Neither of those metrics were available for the 2013 broadcast for an apples-to-apples comparison.
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