TV ratings stalwart Nielsen has paired with Twitter to develop a new metric to measure the reach of programming across social network users. The multi-year deal will produce the new “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” for US viewers, which will be available starting with the fall 2013 television season.

The notion of using Twitter and other social networks while watching television has become very popular in recent years, especially for live broadcast events such as awards shows and political addresses. In addition to the important role of social networks, television viewers are increasingly using smartphone and tablet apps to augment their television experience.

Nielsen says that the new ratings metric will accompany its existing TV ratings system, and advertisers will use it to better tailor their reach to viewers. “As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data," noted Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. For better or worse, we can expect to see more Twitter hashtags promoted during our favorite television shows as this program rolls out.