It’s no secret that social media has influenced the entertainment industry. Today, remote controls are being swapped for a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet, and TV networks are able to track chatter around their programs like never before.

Network executives are now able to tell just how well their shows performed on the social network using numbers from Nielsen’s new Twitter TV ratings, which officially launched today.

Introduced last December, the ratings tool promises to quantify the number of people who post and view tweets about popular TV shows. Using Twitter data, it can present the unique audience, impressions, and tweets for top TV shows each week.

More importantly, it will allow advertisers to see the number of accounts those tweets reached. The New York Times used the example of Breaking Bad’s series finale. The show was mentioned in 1.2 million tweets but those tweets reached 9.3 million Twitter accounts.

Eventually the company plans to implement “a variety of techniques” that will record tweets about specific shows. For example, the tool will be able to distinguish between references to NBC’s show Community and mentions of an online “community.”

Nielsen and Twitter haven’t disclosed how many TV networks or companies are currently using the new rating system, but the official launch shows how serious Twitter is about winning over TV executives from its latest competitor, Facebook.

“We are just beginning to understand the dynamic relationship between social media and television,” Beth Rockwood, SVP of market resources and ad sales for Discovery Communications said. “New tools, like the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, that allow use to further investigate the relationship between individual programs and social media will bring new insights and raise new questions.”

[Via: Mashable, The Verge, Image credit: Keirsten Balukas]