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Tweet while you watch – Twitter buys 'Social TV' firms to further engage viewers

Seth Barton
2 Apr 2014
Twitter
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Twitter is looking to grow and TV tweeting is a big part of that

You can learn a lot about a big company's intentions by watching what it buys. While Facebook has been investing in virtual reality, Twitter this week purchased two companies that work out how people interact with both TV and social media. The Paris-based Mesagraph and London's SecondSync will both be moving to Twitter's London offices.

TV companies have been obsessed of late with engaging audiences in a more interactive way, and for now the huge public forum of Twitter looks to be their number one choice. Twitter knows this and is keen to drive yet more usage of its service by looking in depth at who, when and what people tweet about when watching TV.

In the US the company just launched the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating, which is designed to complement the long-running US TV ratings standard. This will allow Twitter to rate how well different shows are engaging with social media users.

In the long run that's bound to feed into the advertising rates that TV companies can charge, with show that have high interaction with youthful audiences undoubtedly asking for more money to screen adverts. There's already been work done analysing how well adverts themselves have made a splash with social media users.

With Twitter getting better integrated into devices in the living room, such as Smart TVs and games consoles, it won't be long before we'll all be tweeting about the show we're watching, with the TV or tablet automatically adding in the appropriate hashtag and providing a stream of appropriate tweets to respond to – something that's already on offer with Samsung Smart TV 2014.

A post from SecondSync confirming the deal stated: "Twitter is the only place that hosts a real-time, public conversation about TV at scale … by joining Twitter, we will be able to help take that experience, in concert with the rest of the TV ecosystem, to the next level."

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