Video services

Comcast Embraces Twitter

The TV industry's love affair with Twitter is blossoming.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), its NBC Universal division, and Twitter Inc. have formed a new partnership to launch "See It", a social media feature that allows Twitter users to tune in to live TV programs and set DVR recordings directly from their Twitter streams.

See It will premiere in November with The Voice and Sunday Night Football. Comcast subscribers who follow those programs on Twitter will start to see a See It button embedded in show-related tweets. By clicking on the button, users will have the immediate option to tune to the show being discussed on their television sets or launch a video stream online. Other See It options include the ability to set a show reminder or DVR recording and buy theater tickets through Comcast's online movie ticketing service, Fandango.

Programmers are anxious to capitalize on Twitter's growing role as the virtual water cooler for television conversations. According to The Nielsen Co. , there were 263 million TV-related tweets in the US in the second quarter alone, and programmers want to harness that online enthusiasm to increase their viewing audiences.

In a sign that tweets are increasingly turning into television currency, Nielsen also launched a new TV ratings system this week to measure the most popular shows on Twitter by volume of activity and total audience reach. (See Nielsen Names Top TV on Twitter.)

Initially, See It will only work for Comcast subscribers and NBCU shows. But the cable company says "other networks, video distributors, websites and apps are already interested in getting on board."

In addition to the launch of the See It feature, Comcast also announced a new advertising partnership between NBCU and Twitter. The agreement will extend NBCU promotions opportunities to the Twitter platform. Comcast says NBC Sports Group will be the first NBCU unit to take advantage of the partnership by embedding video highlights sponsored by General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) into the sports programmer's tweets.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

albreznick 10/14/2013 | 8:38:24 PM
Re: Do consumers really care? So do you think these deals are mainky about impressing Wall Street, Dan? If so, does that mean the deal activity will slow down markedly after the IPO happens? We'll have to watch for that. 
DOShea 10/11/2013 | 7:00:12 AM
Re: Do consumers really care? Regardless of the viability questions, I'm guessing we'll see a lot more of these types of deals leading up to the Twitter IPO. It's the kind of stuff Wall Street wants to see even if we don't.
albreznick 10/10/2013 | 5:33:32 PM
Re: Do consumers really care? Yeah, I wonder how much benefit Comcast and NBC will get out of this too. It will be interesting to see the measurement stats for tweeted TV tune-ins, if they ever become public. Let's see how long this partnership actually lasts.     
Sarah Thomas 10/10/2013 | 3:09:25 PM
Re: Do consumers really care? I certainly don't. I find the promoted Tweets obnoxious too. But like you said, i can appreciate why the industry is doing this. I just don't care and don't think a lot of people will either. Twitter convos are fun because they're authentic. This would take some of that away.
KBode 10/10/2013 | 1:45:32 PM
Do consumers really care? I know this is kind of a no brainer for industry, and just another way to auto-promote content on social media, but do consumers really care? I'm not sure scheduling a DVR recording was all that difficult to begin with, and I'm not sure how many people are ready to watch TV RIGHT NOW while browsing Twitter. I've struggled with understanding the usefulness of this for the consumer. What am I missing?
mendyk 10/10/2013 | 11:03:50 AM
Tweet dreams So... Nielsen is now going to track Twitter activity as part of its TV rating portfolio, and Comcast (NBC Universality) is jumping in the sack with Twitter. The deck is now stacked.
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