Three years ago I wondered is Twitter the news system of the future?
All news that fit in a tweet
Remember the Hudson River plane landing? The attacks in Mumbai? How about the California and Haiti earthquakes? Twitter is great for short news alerts, as long as we do keep vigilant about red herrings.
It was 2009, and CNN lost ground to crowdsourced news.
During the Fort Hood shootings, interested citizens and locals, then mainstream media publications, showed how Twitter lists can be used for breaking news and to deliver information about what is happening at the scene.
News sources and data points can be corrected in real time by people who are closest to where the incident is taking place. Citizens and locals reporting what is happening, especially when taping the events, or taking images on the scene, are probably to be trusted more than journalists who may not have the resources to verify a story days later.
Many journalists are now on Twitter (my curated list). Curation of news reporting alone can be a valuable service in a sea of information.
People on Twitter use Twitter to find out what is going on or to report what we see and experience more than we're aware of doing. The immediacy of the tool an the instant nature of potential connections and support, along with how easily we can post to the stream, make it very suitable for this use.
As seen on... Twitter
Even before talk of its association with news, people were already using Twitter to follow peer commentary on shows, talk about the Superbowl commercials and then about many award shows, follow characters and give TV networks plenty of data to understand viewers needs.
Nielsen reports that sometimes the amount of action on Twitter aligns closely with viewer ratings -- the Breaking Bad finale topped the week of September 23rd on Twitter -- but shows like CBS sitcoms top traditional ratings without causing much conversation. This week, ABC's Scandal topped the list as Miley Cyrus accounted for the next two spots with her MTV special and Saturday Night Live episode.
Engagement is one of the two key words that are top of mind for TV executives (the other one being discovery). Start tracking what people say in real time with what they do -- in the form of public word of mouth -- and then start correlating that with what people do over time -- how their habits change, what shows they buy on demand, etc.
Comcast hopes to promote TV shows on Twitter and has just penned a deal to add a feature to its own channels (for now), like NBC Universal, called See it to connect that last mile -- online conversation and news coverage about TV series and movies to lead users to those series and movies (and measure that traffic/conversion).
Coming soon (November-ish time frame) to Twitter streams near you. Engagement, discovery, and action. Put a nice bow on it and serve it up to brands. Twitter bought mobile ad app MoPub in early September.#
“We want to make the conversation on Twitter lead to consumption,” said Sam Schwartz, Comcast’s chief business development officer. Comcast is the biggest pay-TV provider in the U.S., with more than 24 million subscribers.#
And why is that? Because of the trend in cord cutting --nearly 78% of American homes have broadband and 9% cord cutters; college campuses are also increasingly becoming cord cutters; cord cutting is forcing the TV industry to innovate [source: GigaOm].
The good news, no pun intended, is that Comcast plays on both sides of the trend -- got TV cable, and got DSL cable.
The deal also includes an “Amplify” advertising deal with Twitter, where Twitter and NBCUniversal will both sell ads against short video clips from the programmers’ shows.#
Sooo, as we approach the Twitter IPO, after the company played its cards close to the chest and the recent spat on Board composition, another hurdle is looming post-IPO -- optimising for advertising. Revenue per user is a bogus number because most users won't pay a-ttention, nor a dime.
It's about behavior: will people leave, block, stop using the network so frequently, etc.
the biggest challenge in satisfying the requirement to boost ad revenue arguably isn’t financial at all, but behavioral, and it boils down to one question: Can Twitter introduce enough revenue-generating ad formats into the stream without ruining the experience for users and torpedoing its growth and engagement numbers?
All this change and advertising remains a major revenue generating tool. Is a tweet too short a space to get context right? Relevance is in the hands of the user.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.