Don’t ignore Twitter’s power to scoop, but it’s not a full news rival | Kurat
Anyway, the competition for broadcasters is no illusion. In the real world not many people watch rolling news. BBC News was watched by 169,000 people between noon and 1pm last Thursday according to Barb data; Sky News by 90,000 over the five-hour period. It is true that Barb does not measure screens in offices, pubs and dentist waiting rooms – so the true viewing figure will be greater, but in the battle for eyeballs Twitter is a serious contender. It is the same too for newspaper websites, even the Daily Mail. A hit news story can attract well over 100,000 readers, but there are only so many of those, and five figures is usually considered a solid measure of success. The beauty of the newspaper formula, of course, is that discrete reading habits all add up, but Twitter can manage larger numbers too.
Once when the England manager resigned, a quote from a star player could have filled an exclusive back page. Now everyone can cut and paste the tweets of Rio Ferdinand – “I think we need an English manager now” – or Wayne Rooney: “Harry Redknapp for me.” Rio’s Twitter followers amount to 2 million; Rooney’s 2.9 million. It doesn’t take many characters to get it: Twitter outrates.