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TV tweets: Twitter partners with networks to make live TV fun... and profitable

TV tweets: Twitter partners with networks to make live TV fun... and profitable


The company hopes that 140 characters will become the de facto standard for second screen advertising

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Twitter CEO Dick Costolo took the stage in Manhattan this morning to talk with a crowd of the biggest advertisers and brands from Madison Avenue. He brought up a slide of a recent tweet, featuring a picture of race cars spinning out of control. "Usually when there is a crash at the Daytona 500 the ratings go down," Costolo said. "The race stops, the caution flags come out, and people change the channel. But this time Brad Keselowski, one of the drivers, snapped an image of the fire from his car following close behind, and tweeted it out. Not sure why he had his phone in the car, but the point is, the ratings shot up. This is inside-out, unfiltered communication. We're the only public, real-time, conversational media on the planet. There are some other platforms that manage one or two of these, but none that are all three."

Twitter has already partnered with the NBA and ESPN to push instant replays of sports highlights to Twitter users who are talking about the game or who follow the teams involved. Today it announced a raft of new partners, including A&E, Bloomberg Television, Clear Channel, MLB and several others who will be using the company's Amplify program to push clips, extras, and other goodies to Twitter users who are watching live.

For Twitter, it's a sign that its still-young advertising business has been a success, especially around live events. Twitter is looking to own the second screen, the conversation happening on mobile devices while people are tuned in to big events on TV. It's a broadcast model big brand advertisers are comfortable with and a huge $80 billion market that Twitter can tap into.

The company also announced a new ad targeting technology that it hopes will help it move beyond tentpole events like the Superbowl or presidential election to daily television habits. It's the result of Twitter's acquisition of BlueFin Labs. The company built tech that will allow Twitter to look for keywords across all the messages users post. If you're tweeting about Mad Men, Twitter knows that in real time. It can then match an ad you saw on TV, say for Trident, with an ad on Twitter, perhaps themed around Mad Men. It's a way for advertisers to extend and personalize the traditional marketing they do on TV into the mobile space.

"When we use Twitter and TV together, the marketing is twice as effective," said Bonin Bough, the man behind Oreo's award winning real-time marketing campaigns, including the cookie's massively successful tweet from the Superbowl blackout. The way regular people think about big live events shows a similar fusion, said Bough. "People told me they 'watched' the presidential debate on Twitter, that is the language we are using today."