Over the weekend, the anonymous gadfly behind @TVSportsratings—one of the more interesting sports-biz Twitter feeds around, unless you count @darrenrovell, which you shouldn't—nuked his own account after sending the following direct message to John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal:
Not worth the bother to me. Like I said, I gain nothing from this personally or professionally.
As the handle suggests, @TVSportsratings was primarily concerned with television ratings for particular sporting events, which he would post with breakdowns by key demographics (gender, age, live or taped). Sample tweet: "Kentucky Derby on NBC: 3.06 in Men 18-49 (-8% vs. last year) & 14.8 mil viewers (+2%). Median age of 60 years." As of last week, the account had close to 8,500 followers, and for good reason: The information was nearly instant and didn't come pre-spun by the networks, as ratings info often does. Another sample: "On the daily rank, a 6am airing of Family Matters on Nick (846k viewers) was just ahead of PIT/PHI NHL on NBCS (844k)." He was combative, too. Take this series of tweets questioning the necessity of broadcasters. Read from the bottom:
He didn't tweet out any proprietary information, so far as we can tell. Anyone with a Nielsen subscription has access to the same kinds of numbers. Still, networks hated the account, for obvious reasons. It got to the point where two different networks spent resources trying to uncover the owner of the account. Ourand writes:
The Twitter feed was under the skin of network executives, who tried for months to figure out who was behind it. One network's research department pegged the tweeter as a research executive for a smaller network. Another network's research department believes the person works for an advertising agency.
They all believed the person behind the feed was a middle-aged man who lives in northern New Jersey, based on some of the Twitter feeds that the account followed, like Port Authority and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. They believed the person is in the television industry and is a big baseball fan who supports the Yankees. And that his or her birthday is April 6, based on other tweets.
We'd like to know more, too. Got any info on the @TVSportsratings guy? Send an email to email@example.com. We won't narc on the dude, promise. We have no interest in outing him—we just like his work.
[SportsBusiness Daily; image by Jim Cooke]