NEW YORK: TV networks and advertisers have opportunities to maximise earned media and build loyalty among viewers who use Twitter over the course of a programme's season, according to a new report.

Research firm Nielsen sought to establish whether these "social TV authors" are limited to the same group who comment on Twitter each week or if other viewers join in during the course of a programme's season.

Based on analysis of 113 programme seasons, from premiere to finale, covering September 2014 to May 2015, Nielsen Social uncovered three key insights for marketers.

It found that new social TV authors regularly join conversations about programmes; loyal authors are valuable for more than just their social allegiance; and big programme moments inspire more fans to participate.

After finding that an average of 10 times as many authors tweet about a programme in total across a season compared with the number of authors who contribute in an average week, the report concluded that "new voices jump into the conversation throughout the season".

Nielsen suggested that provides an opportunity for networks and advertisers to convert new authors into loyal programme authors, perhaps through on-screen calls to action or paid social campaigns.

There is also value for networks and advertisers in engaging loyal programme authors because, for the top loyal programmes, more than a fifth of authors tweet about three or more episodes during a season.

ABC's "Scandal" has the top programme loyalty on Twitter, at 24%, followed by AMC's "The Walking Dead" (23%), Fox's "Empire" (22%), ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder" (22%) and FX's "Sons of Anarchy" (21%).

Finally, the study found there are big moments within a season when larger groups of authors jump into the conversation.

On average, 25% of all programme authors tweet about premieres and 16% tweet about finales while, between these two groups combined, 38% tweet during those two moments.

With a full 25% of authors tweeting about premieres, Nielsen said premieres could be a critical point at the beginning of a season to maximise "early buzz and foster loyalty for ensuing episodes".

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff