3 Ways Twitter Is Changing TV Forever

Do you tweet while you’re watching TV? Or maybe you jump on Twitter right after a startling season finale?

More and more consumers are turning to Twitter as the “second screen” counterpart to their TV screens. And Twitter is embracing the social TV trend in a big way.

Here are three ways that Twitter is changing TV forever.

1. Reality TV is becoming instant reality TV

Just this week, “The Voice” (one of the many talent competition shows that we just can’t seem to get enough of) told viewers they could save one of the nearly-axed contestants from certain doom by tweeting #VoiceSave and the name of their favorite – during a five minute commercial break.

When they returned from the commercials, they had tallied the numbers and one contestant (no doubt nearing a heart attack waiting for the results) was told she could stay another week, thanks to her tweeting fans.

This isn’t the first instance of live voting (remember when you could text in to American Idol? Anyone?), but Twitter certainly makes it easier. There were, no doubt, plenty of data analysts behind the scenes plugged in to analytics software, counting up the votes during the short 5 minute window. But it’s a testament to the synergy between real-time nature of of Twitter and the real-time airing of reality TV that the votes could be tallied and announced within minutes of the voting window closing.

Reality TV is only going to continue to capitalize on how complimentary Twitter is, so you can expect to see more audience participation in live shows in the future.

2. Ads will become more targeted

Advertisers have always been interested in social media’s ability to target specific audience segments, and TV might be the industry poised to benefit from this ability most.

Twitter announced this week that advertisers can now target Promoted Tweets (read: ads) to users who tweet about a particular TV show.

This means that if a user is tweeting about “The Voice”, they could potentially see an ad in their timeline for singing lessons, or even a competing show airing later that night.

Dubbed “TV conversation targeting”, this new ability is more refined than simply targeting ads by keywords – it is, presumably, contextual and “understands” when someone is talking about “The Voice” the show, rather than voices in general.

3. The ratings game will become more complicated

Who’s watching TV isn’t a a good enough metric anymore. It’s quickly becoming who’s engaging with TV.

Twitter has partnered with Nielsen to provide insight into how tweets affect TV ratings, and the numbers are a bit… complex.

According to recent stats, the numbers from Nielsen – which looks at actual viewers watching TV shows on their TV sets – aren’t matching up with numbers from Twitter – which look at who’s tweeting about what shows.

There’s still a long way to go in figuring out how Twitter and TV are matching up, and early numbers suggest it’s not going to be easy going.

Social TV is shaking up the industry. If you’re interested in the coming changes, the Lost Remote conference is a great place to stay head of the curve. Lost Remote will host industry insiders and network execs, discussing how the hashtag is impacting viewers, new trends for the coming year, and how tweets impact ratings. You can register here (and save $100 before December 13th, too!).