The integration of social media with TV isn’t new. Remember all the deals that social TV apps such as Shazam, Viggle and GetGlue inked with major programmers and operators over the past few years? Nevertheless, Comcast’ s deal announced last week with Twitter is unprecedented, as it looks to drive direct content consumption, rating improvement and ad revenue. The MSO’s social TV play doesn’t stop at Twitter, but it’s considered a great starting point given the millions of conversations taking place there today. It still is interested in working with other social platforms on its IP-based X1 platform as it continues to roll out the next-generation video system to all of its markets before the end of the year.
Comcast and Twitter are also exploring additional opportunities to integrate social TV conversation on the X1 platform. The partnership with Twitter features the "See It" button that will be embedded in tweets referencing TV shows. Clicking the button will take the user immediately to the live program on TV or secondary devices, eventually turning the "See It" app into a remote control. Initially available for Xfinity subs, Comcast said the feature is designed to become an industry-wide tool and the integration of "See It" with other MSOs and programmers is expected to be easy. The app is built on codes that interoperate with other distributors.
Programmers, on the other hand, need embed a small, invisible tag on their website, and then Twitter will automatically attach the "See It" functionality to any tweet that references that Website. While Comcast and Twitter talk to additional "See It" partners, other MSOs and programmers might experiment their own version of social TV integrations, said Jonathan Weitz, partner at IBB Consulting, which advises media and cable companies. "For MSOs, social features that increase usage of linear, TV Everywhere, VOD and DVR promotes subscriber loyalty and helps differentiate pay TV offerings," he said.