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How Twitter Drives TV Engagement

1 minute read | June 2013

Over the last six years, TV networks’ Twitter accounts have gone from being little more than promotional outlets for tune-in messaging to real-time channels for networks and advertisers to interact with highly engaged audiences.

Evan Silverman, SVP, digital media for A&E networks, says that advancements in social TV analytics are giving the industry a way to measure the total size of the social TV audience—both those participating in the conversation and those who watch on the sidelines. And these analytics are making the social TV opportunity real and measurable for advertisers.

At Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference in Phoenix, Silverman discussed how A&E was able to drive audience engagement for the hit show “Project Runway,” which runs on its subsidiary Lifetime network, through strategic Twitter TV initiatives.

When “Project Runway” launched a “Fan Favorite” social campaign, encouraging viewers to vote for designers by using custom hashtags, the initiative resulted in nearly five comments per unique user—more than the ratio for any other cable TV show at the time.

A&E believes that there should be a premium charge for programming with high social engagement, Silverman said.

“The most important thing we all do is to generate a linear rating for our company. However, social TV is extremely valuable in its own right and absolutely helps amplify the conversation, helps sponsors participate in programming,” he said.

Dedicated Twitter accounts are a relatively new industry practice: They became a mainstream in 2007, just a year after the first tweet was sent in 2006. Last year, social TV took a big leap forward when Twitter launched Twitter Cards, which enabled partners to create interactive experiences within tweets.

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