Twitter is betting big on its relationship with television, both in how networks and shows can tap into the firehose of tweets to drive awareness via ads, and how Twitter can convert that synergy into cash. Market your shows through us, Twitter says, and your audience will go through the roof.
Problem: it isn’t working. At least not according to one NBC executive.
Alan Wurtzel, research chief at NBC Universal – who, amongst other projects, recently launched a “See It” tweet button with Twitter and Comcast – is adamant that Twitter does not boost viewers.
“Why wouldn’t I want to say to you, ‘We have a potent new way in which we can drive ratings?'” says Wurtzel, speaking to the Financial Times. “It just isn’t true. I am saying the emperor wears no clothes. It is what it is. These are the numbers.”
Ouch. Of course, we’ve been here before. While Nielsen proposed that Twitter did drive up ratings on some TV shows, mostly it was the TV shows themselves that drove up activity on Twitter. And at least one other study has suggested that social buzz on Twitter doesn’t sync with actual viewers.
And when you consider that more than eight in 10 don’t use social media whilst watching TV – at all – it’s hardly surprising.
Still, Twitter continues to bet big, launching its TV conversation targeting tool around the globe last week. It will be interesting to see how this all reflects in this afternoon’s earnings report.