Television advertising seems to be the holy grail for social networks. Remember crazy Twitter went at the chance to become a second screen, and to get the big bucks from television advertisers, last year?
Now another social network has entered into the fray, swooping in and making a big deal with one of the medium's biggest conglomerates.
It was revealed on Thursday that Viacom has signed an exclusive partnership with Tumblr "to deliver co-branded content campaigns during the 2014 Upfront Season."
Through the deal, Viacom will create custom content developed for Tumblr's blogging platform that connects to shows and events on its networks, using Tumblr's suite of ad products. That will essentially turn Tumblr will become a second screen for Viacom’s portfolio.
Viacom is the parent company of channels that include MTV, VH1, CMT, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, TV Land, Spike and more.
As such, the first effort between Viacom and Tumblr will be on April 13th for the 2014 MTV Movie Awards, where MTV will post images, videos, animated .gifs and other interactive content to Tumblr that connects to the show before, during and after the broadcast. Some of the content that will be highlight includes categories, presenters, nominees and winners, as well as buzzworthy moments and performances.
The two companies will also be partnering during the "upfront season," the time when networks show upcoming lineup to advertisers, allowing them to buy ad space.
This is not the first time Viacom has used the Tumblr platform to reach its audience; in fact it has more than 40 blogs and 3 million followers across Tumblr already. This is the first time that Viacom and Tumblr have officially partnered for said content, though.
This is a big victory for Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who bought Tumblr for $1.1 billion in May of last year and has spoken of it as a potential ad platform in that time. It should also help the company bolster its advertising revenue, which has recently begun falling.
In its last quarterly earnings report, the company revealed that display revenue ex-TAC was $1.7 billion for the full year of 2013, a 9 percent% compared to $1.9 billion for the prior year. Display ads account for 41% of Yahoo’s revenue.
In a statement, Lee Brown, Global Head of Brand Partnerships at Tumblr, called Viacom a "natural partner."
"They embraced our platform at an early stage and immediately got what we were all about: telling great stories and connecting with a super-engaged community of fans," he said. We are thrilled to extend our partnership during this year's Upfront to provide our users with even more compelling content to interact with and reblog."
Twitter's television efforts
Like I said at the beginning, Twitter has been courting television advertisers pretty hard over the last year.
The company premiered its tv ad targeting software in beta mode in May of last year, and then expanded to to all U.S. advertisers that run national television spots in July.
The technology allows advertisers to engage directly with people on Twitter who have been exposed to their ads on live television. It works by identifying Tweets that correspond with that television show. Because the person was engaged enough to tweet about it, the company figures that they watched the ads as well (which, in all honesty, is a bit of a leap. It is more likely they were sending the tweets in question while the ads were playing). Twitter will then push out promoted tweets that extend those advertisements.
Twitter also purchased real-time TV data company Trendrr to help make those ads more relevant.
In addition, Twitter strengthened its position with tv advertisers by showing them that tweets can drive higher ratings for tv shows, and that those shows caused a spike in tweets. TV and Twitter, it seems, have symbiotic relationship.
(Image source: mydreamofalifetime.blogspot.com)