Twitter Expands into TV
by Hector Niel-Mee, Mindshare
With partnerships between Twitter and TV networks expanding rapidly, it was only a matter of time before a major cable provider got involved. Comcast has recently announced a pioneering partnership between NBCUniversal and Twitter; a deal with potentially huge consequences for all involved. In an attempt to link the millions of Twitter users with television viewing, Comcast has designed a new feature called “See it” which will allow customers of its Xfinity TV service to tune in to TV programs, movies and sports by clicking a "See it" button embedded within a tweet. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has described the feature as "an instant online remote control."
Each day, Twitter plays host to real-time conversations around the live broadcast of television shows; “See it” will create an overlap between the two. In a typical week, #thevoice generates over 350 million Twitter impressions, but the missing link is how to shift that conversation into consumption. In the future, when NBCUniversal publishes a post about “The Voice” for example, a “See it” button will appear at the end of the post, giving Xfinity customers the option to tune into live programming, either on their television or right from their smartphone or tablet. Users will also have the option to record programs on-the-go, set reminders and even buy cinema tickets through Fandango, a popular advanced ticket booking service in the U.S. If the user is not subscribed to Xfinity, a link will guide them to NBC’s website or app where the video can be accessed.
The potential benefit for Comcast and NBC is substantial; “See It” will help convert the millions of TV-related tweets into actual viewing to help drive ratings and engagement with viewers. For brands, the major benefit is that NBC’s TV and digital sponsorships can now be extended to Twitter. Through Twitter’s Amplify program, NBC’s entire portfolio can extend the reach of its advertising campaigns and sponsorships to its audiences on Twitter and drive tune-in to its programming. This will allow brands purchasing TV spots to ensure people are watching those spots by promoting them on Twitter, enabling advertisers to purchase the TV spots and digital placements in a single procedure. “NBC’s content is driving the most popular conversations in social media,” said Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal. “Now with this partnership, our advertisers will be able to reach even more of the specific audiences that they desire”. Furthermore, Comcast and Twitter are in discussions with additional distribution partners and television networks to use the “See it” feature to promote their content, meaning the advertising potential can only improve.
Twitter is a popular forum for television viewers to discuss what they’re watching in real-time and Comcast’s partnership with the social network will bridge this association one step further by connecting millions of Twitter followers to view on any screen. The collaboration represents a development in social television by bringing it to new platforms and satisfying the ever growing desire to watch television wherever and whenever it is desired. Essentially, Twitter could soon replace your remote control.