Twitter hasspent the better part of a year making moves to get in bed with the television industry, trying to prove that it is the ideal partner to get more eyeballs to their shows. And now those efforts have finally paid off. And in a big way.
The social network has now struck a deal with Comcast that is much, much cooler than simply putting up a video ad inside of a tweet: it is debuting a new feature that will give users the ability to both watch, and record, shows directly from Twitter, it was announced on Wednesday.
The new feature is called "See It." Here's how it works: A user scrolls through their newsfeed until they come a tweet from a show like The Voice, which will have a See It button on the bottom. If they are an Xfinity TV customer they will sign in, and they will see three options: to watch, record or remind.
If they click on record, it will set up a recording on their DVR. If they choose watch, they will begin streaming the show on either their computer or mobile device. Selecting remind will automatically set up a remind to watch the show from Twitter at a later time.
Users can also use the service to buy movie theater tickets through Fandango.
See It will first be available in November with channels that include NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, Esquire Network and The Golf Channel, and shows that include The Voice, The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, The Michael J. Fox Show, Sunday Night Football, Access Hollywood, NHL, Premier League Soccer, Sochi Olympics, Today Show, Psych and Suits.
Of course, there is also an advertising component to the deal as well, with NBC leveraging Twitter’s Amplify program to deliver video advertising in Newsfeeds. NBC Sports Group will be the first to delivering ads by promoting Premier League short-form video highlights sponsored by General Electric.
Two other networks, E! and USA, are also already going to taking advantage of the partnership as well in the coming months.
The deal between Twitter and Comcast has been in the works since at least April and this is just the beginning of the partnership between the two. Comcast is already saying that already "exploring additional opportunities to integrate social TV conversations" into its X1 platform entertainment operating system.
What this means for Twitter
This is a very big deal for Twitter. It is the opportunity that the company has been looking for in order to prove its usefulness to advertisers as it prepares to go public.
Twitter has been trying like crazy to prove that it can drive up television viewing through tweets.
In a study done by Nielsen in August, it was shown that Twitter and television have a kind of symbiotic relationship: while it showed that tweets caused ratings spikes for 29% of the television episodes that it sampled, those ratings spikes for 48% of those shows actually caused an increase in tweets as well.
And then earlier this week, Twitter and Nielsen partnered again to release the first ever Twitter Ratings, which rank which shows got the most eyeballs, and the biggest reach, on the network.
Through these efforts, Twitter has been trying to tell television networks and advertisers that it can be an effective tool for them to draw more people to their shows.
Now Twitter is getting a chance to prove it once and for all.
(Image source: http://corporate.comcast.com)