The most tweeted-about shows are not always the highest-rated TV shows, but Twitter engagement is evidence that viewers are really paying attention to shows—and just as importantly, to advertisers—in real-time.
As Twitter tries to position itself to advertisers as the crucial accompaniment to TV, Nielsen's Twitter stats are increasingly important.
Nielsen, which started tracking TV-Twitter activity this past fall, released analysis of the September-May broadcast season, and AMC has come out on top with two shows drawing big numbers.
Tweets about the "Breaking Bad" finale reached 9.1 million people on Twitter that evening. That series was also the top on Twitter for the season, reaching an average audience north of 6 million, with an average of 521,000 tweets per episode.
It was followed by "The Walking Dead," with an average audience of 5.2 million and 576,000 average tweets.
The biggest TV event of the year—the Super Bowl—was also the biggest event on Twitter. The 25.3 million tweets posted about the big game on Fox reached 15.3 million people on the social media site. And one advertiser, eSurance, saw its investment in that pricey Super Bowl ad time payoff. The top hashtag of the night— #esurancesave30—was mentioned 1.8 million times.
Other major live events also drew a big Twitter audience. The Oscars took home the prize for the "most impressions" at a billion. That translates to 13.9 million people using Twitter each seeing an average of 75 tweets. The winner that night was @TheEllenShow "selfie" tweet, which was retweeted 1.1 million times. The Grammys drove 13.8 million tweets, with the @Arbys tweet to @Pharrell ("Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back?") retweeted 57,000 times.
The most social moment—came just a few weeks ago, for "The Voice," when viewers sent 1.92 million tweets, including a record 310,000 at 8:59 pm EST. Another reality show, Univision's "Nuestra Belleza Latina," had the most active fans, with each sending an average of 8.3 tweets per show.
—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin