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NBCUniversal drives TV tune-ins with innovative Twitter partnership

NBCUniversal is leading the charge with how broadcasters are tying together mobile, social and television with a new tool that aims to ensure consumers are glued to multiple devices while watching their favorite TV programs.

The media giant has inked a deal with Comcast and Twitter that includes a new feature within Twitter?s mobile and Web properties called ?See it.? The button is meant to help fuel discovery of new shows for consumers as well as give fans a way to interact with multiple screens simultaneously.

?Clearly the network is seeing the value of harnessing their mobile fan base as it relates to actionable and insightful engagements,? said Aaron Everson, president and chief strategy officer of Shoutlet, Madison, WI.

?The ability to record shows through Twitter is allowing users to make the most of mobile for their at-home behaviors, and NBC is able to effectively increase their online communities because of it,? he said.

?By making their Twitter feed something users can leverage for personal interests, NBC in turn is able to get very granular on user data to help them define their programming. The link between TV and social is getting increasingly stronger, and this partnership is proof that there's direct value behind social efforts for television.?

Mr. Everson is not affiliated with NBCUniversal. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

NBCUniversal did not meet press deadline.

Mobile remote control
Consumers will see the button within tweets that can be accessed by Comcast?s Xfinity subscribers with a log-in.

Xfinity customers that log-in can click on the button to see a menu of different options that link either a desktop or mobile device to a TV set box.

Twitter users can choose to tune in to live TV by simply clicking a button. The feature also activates an On Demand show to begin.

Consumers also have the option to watch the program online through the Twitter integration.

The See It button is linked to an option that lets consumers set their DVRs or reminders to tune-in.

NBCUniversal is integrating its Fandango property into Twitter so that consumers can buy movie tickets to films promoted on-air.

Fandango in particular has seen success with mobile ticketing in the past, and since it is assumed that a significant amount of second-screen viewing takes place with a smartphone or tablet in hand, the company makes a natural fit in with See It.

See It on Twitter will be used on NBCUniversal?s NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, Esquire Network and The Golf Channel.

The Voice, Today Show, Psych, Access Hollywood and the Michael J. Fox Show program are some of the programs that the technology will be used with beginning in November.

Marketers have long hyped up mobile?s role in second-screen viewing, but up until now there has not been a way to ensure that consumers are actually simultaneously watching TV while on social media.

This new initiative could fuel broadcasters to be more active on social media during primetime and other key times of the day that consumers are tuned in. Broadcasters could also potentially target competing networks to steal viewers away from shows.

Since a majority of Twitter?s usage and advertising revenue comes from mobile, it is no surprise that both NBCUniversal and Twitter are playing up smartphones and tablets in the launch of the program.

Second-screen advertising
In addition to See It, NBCUniversal has also inked a deal to use Twitter?s Amplify advertising product that pushes out real-time tweets during TV shows with video clips.

The Twitter Amplify partnership will stretch across NBCUniversal?s entire portfolio, which is made up of 17 cable networks and 50 digital properties.

In particular, NBC Sports Group will use the second-screen platform to push out short video highlights during Premier League soccer games, which will be sponsored by General Electric.

Additionally, USA Network plans to use the technology for a second-screen marketing effort for Modern Family marathon program that kicks off Oct. 18.

E! will incorporate the technology so that advertisers can serve custom content across special events during the holidays and red carpet events next year.

?We've seen the effect social can have on driving buzz and anticipation of programs, look at Game of Thrones, for example,? Mr. Everson said.

?The online chatter around the Red Wedding episode was instrumental in driving interest,? he said.

?Everyone watching Game of Thrones was talking about it, and everyone who wasn't watching heard about it and wanted to understand what the hype was about. With this level and amount of feedback, networks get a very clear idea of what the fans want to see."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York