Watch TV from a tweet with Twitter's new See It feature
Twitter is really serious about TV, and this time, it’s not just about advertising. In November, TV-related tweets will prompt Comcast customers to take action with a new See It button.
Tapping the button will bring up a few options: changing the channel on a set-top box or starting a show On Demand, bringing the show up online or on a device, setting the DVR, setting reminders, and buying Fandango movie tickets. Only specific shows on certain NBCUniversal channels, like Bravo, E!, NBC, MSNBC, and Syfy, will integrate the new feature. If you’re on Twitter and see a conversation about The Voice, you’ll be able to tune in from the tweet. If you see a tweet about Days of Our Lives, maybe not.
The Voice generates 350 million Twitter impressions—not tweets themselves, but the number of people they reach—and if a fraction of those people actually watched the show, NBC’s already solid ratings would shoot through the roof. Twitter is already working with TV ratings firm Nielsen to track how many people are tweeting about TV and seeing tweets about TV—the See It feature could turn those people into viewers.
The social TV experiment isn’t yet available to users, so it’s unclear how seamless the experience will be.
A revolution that’s televised and tweeted
Comcast plans to integrate See It with Twitter conversations about Sunday Night Football and the upcoming Sochi Olympics. Next year, other distributors will sign on to use the feature and the button will be used for other shows on additional networks. Consider this a beta test, Comcast's chief business development officer, Sam Schwartz, said in a Wednesday blog post .
“Twitter is where television viewers come to talk about what they’re watching on TV when they’re watching it, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said in a statement. “Millions of users are exposed to the live conversation that unfolds on Twitter while a show is on the air, and now, with See It, they’ll be able to tune in directly from a tweet.”
Of course, it all comes back to ads. Twitter is going public, and it really needs to boost revenue in order to turn a profit. NBCUniversal signed on to use Twitter’s Amplify advertising program for its 19 TV networks, so it can push related media content to Twitter users tweeting about NBC shows. NBC’s advertisers will also push those users Promoted Tweets. The first move in the partnership is NBC Sports Group’s push of Premier League video highlights (sponsored by General Electric) to fans tweeting about the games.