Twitter is becoming a mainstay in television, functioning as a digital water cooler where people discuss all things TV.
In June 2012, Nielsen reported that one in three users on Twitter posted about television, making the microblogging platform the perfect companion for TV.
TV shows and advertisers can use Twitter to build interest before a show's airing, fuel discovery, measure viewer engagement, and receive real-time participation and feedback.
Just consider the reactions that overtook Twitter during HBO's third season finale of Game of Thrones earlier this month. Twitter became a real-time source of GoT commentary, as well as one of serious spoilers for those who weren't watching the show live.
Twitter has also found a place in live reality television. On Fox's reality TV show "The Voice," viewers are encouraged to tweet their thoughts and reactions to singers' performances. The show even employs pop star Christina Milian as its official social media correspondent to further engage viewers on Twitter.
Aside from functioning as a platform for talking about and engaging with shows, Twitter is also transforming the creative process.
CBS drama series "Hawaii Five-0" used Twitter to take suggestions from its viewers regarding potential endings for an episode earlier this year. Based on their responses, viewers on the East and West coast saw different endings.
Twitter has been pretty aggressive lately in partnering with TV and traditional media companies. It made three moves over the last year or so that indicate the platform is cozying up to the television industry.
For one, Twitter launched a new ad product in May that allows advertisers to target you on Twitter based on what you're watching . The product lets advertisers buy promoted tweet campaigns against the nightly TV schedule.
That's because there's a strong correlation between people watching shows and tweeting about them. The most recent Super Bowl, for example, saw a record number of Twitter mentions. Social analytics firm Bluefin Labs, which Twitter acquired for millions of dollars earlier this year, called the Super Bowl the most social event ever to air. It racked up 30.6 million mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and GetGlue, up from 12.2 million mentions the year before.
Twitter has also struck deals with A&E, Bloomberg TV, TheAudience, ESPN, Vevo, and other media companies to promote TV clips on Twitter. It's all part of Twitter's video content promotion tool called Amplify, where media companies can push small video clips accompanied by a brief video ad as a pre-roll or post-roll.
Twitter secured a multi-year partnership with Nielsen in December to produce the first-ever social TV ratings. The ratings, which will be available for commercial use during fall 2013, use a standard metric to show how many times a program gets mentioned on Twitter.
In March, Nielsen and social analytics firm SocialGuide found a strong relationship between Twitter and TV ratings. It found that increases in Twitter volume correlate to increases in TV ratings for varying age groups, with a stronger correlation for younger audiences. Twitter is also one of the top three indicators of how well a show will rate, according to the study.
Bottom line: As Twitter continues to grow and establish relationships with traditional TV providers and services, this seems to be just the tip of the iceberg as far as the site's foray into television.
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