warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Comcast And Twitter Unveil New Social-TV Partnership

Annie Lloyd |
October 9, 2013 | 12:10 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

On Oct. 9, Twitter and Comcast released statements outlining their new connected television service: “See It.”

The feature allows Comcast Xfinity subscribers to access live TV, DVR capabilities, and Fandango movie tickets directly from their Twitter timeline. They can decide to watch it on their TV through their Comcast set-top box or directly on their computer or mobile device. The user interface includes a “See It” button under a tweet about a certain show, which then leads the user to a log-in page before he or she can access the show. Due to Comcast’s position as NBCUniversal’s corporate head, the channels and shows available at its launch will only include members of the Comcast conglomerate (NBC, USA, Bravo, E!, and others).

Comcast currently stands as the most ubiquitous pay-TV service with 21,776,000 subscribers to Time Warner’s 11,911,000, but not all those subscribers will have access to “See It.” Only if they have the Xfinity bundle can Twitter become their new remote control. Comcast recognizes the potential impediment this stipulation could provide: in its press release, the company explains how “Comcast and Twitter are in discussions with additional distribution partners and television networks that will use this feature to promote their content in the coming months.” This strategy could prove crucial to the staying power of “See It” because it anticipates the competition from other developers and aims to make it unnecessary.

This announcement comes barely a week after Twitter made its IPO filing public. Twitter must see the excitement and anticipation around “See It” as a boon to its future stock prices (both “See It” and Twitter’s first day of sharing are both expected to happen in November). It also acts as a response to Facebook’s increasing attempts to claim the position as most-relevant-social-media-for-television. While, as The Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook has the benefit of a larger user base to generate data about how many users are talking and sharing about certain TV shows, Twitter recently got another leg up. The Nielsen Company launched its “Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings” metric this week in order to provide metrics to advertisers and networks about how many people are tweeting about each television show. The Nielsen metrics provide almost the same type of information Facebook is providing, but its position as the primary ratings provider for regular television legitimizes the Twitter ratings over Facebook’s.

In a landscape where content consumption continues to evolve, ratings prove more and more obsolete, and networks and advertisers struggle to monetize new viewing habits, “See It” serves as the first major collaboration between media companies to face these challenges head on.

Contact Staff Reporter Annie Lloyd here. Follow Staff Reporter Annie Lloyd on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.