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Twitter, TV Get Cozier as IPO Nears

9 Oct, 2013 By: Doug McPherson


SAN FRANCISCO – To prep itself for a handsome initial public offering, Twitter is fluffing its feathers by inserting itself into the TV ad economy.

This year, the social media giant started forging partnerships with CBS, MTV and the NFL through a program that lets content owners beam real-time video clips to Twitter users who may have seen – or could be interested in – their TV programming. It also allows marketers to communicate with viewers who saw their TV ads, extending commercial pitches to consumers' smartphones and tablets.

Analysts say TV tie-ins allow Twitter to diversify its revenue stream beyond the relatively small niche of digital advertising campaigns, a move that should appeal to potential investors.

Last week, Twitter unsealed documents for a Wall Street debut that could take place before Thanksgiving. While the company did not reveal how much money it makes from its TV partnerships, it touted its own "strength as a second screen for television programming."

On Sunday, the NFL illustrated how Twitter promotions work. Right after Cincinnati cornerback Adam Jones intercepted New England's Tom Brady, ending a 52-game streak of touchdown passes, the NFL posted a video clip on Twitter. The clip shows the interception.

The 32-second clip was prefaced by an eight-second video ad for a Verizon Droid mobile phone. "Adam Jones ends the Pats undefeated season, Brady's TD streak AND a rainstorm. With 1 INT," the league tweeted.

By inserting itself into the online buzz, the NFL reminded viewers the game was live on the CBS and, at the same, time earned new revenue from Verizon which wanted to show off its new NFL app.

The NFL has more than 5.1 million followers on Twitter. But its new partnership with Twitter means the tweet also went out to millions of other users who might be interested.

Hans Schroeder, the NFL's senior vice president of media strategy and development, says he expects promoted tweets will eventually reach tens of millions of viewers, drive tune-in to games and bring more people to NFL mobile.

People are talking about TV on Twitter – a lot. The recent finale of AMC’s “Breaking Bad" generated a record 1.24 million tweets. The conversation peaked at 22,373 tweets per minute according to analytics firm SocialGuide. People used the hashtag #GoodbyeBreakingBad nearly 500,000 times.

And during this year's Super Bowl, sports fans generated 24 million tweets about the competition, and nearly half of the game's nationally televised commercials contained hashtags that encouraged viewers to tweet.

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer, told NetNewCheck that Twitter "creates a community, a bond between people that doesn't really exist without Twitter."

Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser has reportedly become a Twitter fan saying it has “established itself as one of the world’s most important media properties, and one which is increasingly important to advertisers.”


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