The phenomenon known as social television—that is, exchanging comments with other viewers on the programming you’re watching by using a hashtag on Twitter—has taken a giant leap forward: The superstar microblogging company aims to let users enjoy their favorite programs and series directly from its app by inserting a tweet button on the official tweets of television channels. The point of this new feature is to convert the social network into a new buttress of the television industry.
The year 2013 has been decisive for this marriage between Twitter and the TV industry. Last May, the company announced its expansion of formats and advertising tools by offering in-stream video announcements. Twitter Amplify and TV ad targeting were the key tools in the company’s plans to insert short audiovisual clips into the official tweets of TV channels and brands and show them to users who comment on their programs and products. To give an indication of these users’ clout, half of the commercials broadcasted at this year’s Super Bowl already had hashtags.
Now, the movement toward a more TV-centered model on the social network has progressed much further than originally imagined. An new agreement between Twitter and the US broadcaster Comcast will see to it that, in time for this autumn’s season finales, users will begin to find a “See It” button on tweets related to the programs and series of NBCUniversal (a Comcast network) and can access content directly from the app—either the web or mobile version—without having to go to the channel’s official website.
Twitter will have the opportunity to literally connect its users to the TV programs they consume: with a single click, tweets will drop down a card with info about the series’ content and the shared episode. In addition, it will be possible not only to view the episodes but also to record them and set reminders so that you don’t forget to watch the new installments.
The 140-character messaging service wants to show that its social network presence can increase the size of the TV-viewing audience, and even though this initiative is for now only to be available in the United States, its ultimate aim is to attract a bigger chunk of TV broadcasters’ advertising budget to Twitter’s own balance sheet.