NBC source reveals ‘Tucker on Twitter’ viewership data

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

NBC News has obtained data revealing how many people have been watching Tucker Carlson’s new video series on Twitter.

The data, obtained via Tubular Labs, shows that the first installment of “Tucker on Twitter” racked up 26 million views between the to,e it was posted June 6, 2023, and when NBC reviewed the data.

The second installment received 13.2 million views and the third episode hit 18.7 million.

Tubular Labs obtains its data via Twitter’s developer tools that allow it to access more comprehensive and complete data than is publicly available.

NBC notes that the video view counts displayed on most social media sites, including Twitter, are not an accurate representation of how many people watched a video — they often reflect the number of times the content was shown in a user’s timeline. It does not necessarily mean the user significantly watched or interacted with the content.

According to Twitter’s own guidelines, a video view is tallied when a user watches two seconds of video and sees at least 50% of the video player on their device, so any such numbers are almost certainly significantly overstating the actual engagement of content.

Twitter has been curtailing the display of these realtime video views since Elon Musk took over the company and took it private, even as it added a feature that tallied “views” of tweets. Like the video view data shown publicly, these numbers are not necessarily an accurate representation of actual engagement with a tweet.

NBC was unable to reach Carlson or his production team for comment.

Tubular’s data does not provide deeper analytics, including factors such as video starts, retention rates, length of engagement, total minutes viewed or demographic information of viewers.

Carlson was fired by Fox’s conservative commentary channel in April 2023. At the time, Fox said it would it pay out the value of his contract, which would, at least legally, bar him from appearing on another media platform.

Carlson defied the network and his legal team counted claiming the network void his contract and non-compete clause by allegedly failing to keep information about him confidential after texts he reportedly sent were disclosed during discovery for the defamation lawsuit brought against the network by Dominion Voting Systems.

Fox attorneys have reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Carlson’s team since he began posting video content on his account, which was the subject of NBC’s data review.

A quick glance at the numbers, limited as they are, show one potential area of concern if Carlson is serious about making his voice heard on Twitter — inconsistent views. His debut clip racked up the most views before the second one dipped to the lowest of the three, though the third one recovered a bit.

That said, Carlson was attracting an average audience over around 3.3 million viewers when his show ended, so his numbers are up significantly without him offering a full hour of content. That said, NBC notes that this data point reflects viewers who watched at least one minute of a program, so comparing digital to TV viewership isn’t a fair comparison.

It’s not clear if Carlson plans to monetize his videos either via embedded brand partnerships or Twitter’s own advertising platform for videos, which would be a key way of him making money from his content. That said, his massive success in cable news has likely left him with a significant fortune that wouldn’t necessarily require him to make money off his social media content, even after paying for staff and production costs.

Monetizing his videos could also prove challenging if advertisers elect to block their ads from running during his content. Throughout his Fox run, many brands pulled ads from his show or the entire network over a variety of offensive and inaccurate comments he made, though some ultimately did return.

One key economic factor with the cable show was that the show technically didn’t even need to rely on advertising to be profitable; Fox, like other popular cable networks, collects billions of dollars in carriage fees from pay TV providers just for the privilege of carrying the channel, so it can still make money that way even if, in theory, it had no ads.

This could be especially true if him goal is to continue to build a solid following who might be interested in other future projects he might offer, such as longer-form content, books or a digital publication.