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Exclusive: The most viral TV shows of 2016/2017 season

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Nielsen conducted its first social media ratings study that includes data from Twitter and Facebook to find which shows got the most social media attention. The top picks were obvious choices like the Super Bowl and the Grammy Awards (besting the Oscars) and surprises like "The Walking Dead."Why it matters: Ratings ≠ social engagement. TV measurement is going to have to change to account for the role digital plays in television consumption and expanding television's reach to different audiences, instead of totally eating it. "The Walking Dead," for example, was by far the most viral TV show on social media, but was only the 8th most watched show on live television over the last TV season. Similarly, some of the most watched shows in primetime, like NCIS, (which ranked third in ratings), didn't crack the top 10 for social engagement.

Entertainment:

  1. The Walking Dead (AMC): 2,028,000 total interactions
  2. Empire (FOX): 860,000
  3. The Bachelor (ABC): 453,000
  4. This is Us (NBC): 436,000
  5. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta (VH1): 406,000

Specials:

  1. The 59th Annual Grammy Awards (CBS): 27,600,000 total interactions
  2. The Oscars (ABC): 22,086,000
  3. Golden Globe Awards (NBC): 10,100,000
  4. Billboard Music Awards (ABC): 5,346,000
  5. Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (ABC): 3,575,000

Sports:

  1. Super Bowl LI: New England vs.Atlanta (2/5): 190,780,000 total interactions
  2. NFL: Green Bay at Dallas (1/15): 52,878,000
  3. NFL: Green Bay Packers at AtlantaFalcons (1/22): 26,431,000
  4. NFL: Pittsburgh at New England (1/22): 24,349,000
  5. MLB: Los Angeles at Chicago Cubs (10/22): 21,520,000