Twitter has already won the battle against Facebook for “second social screen” supremacy. While this declaration might seem premature, Twitter has proven to TV Networks and advertisers that it is the superior social media platform for cross-promotion of shows and products. The social media giant’s users are eager to live-tweet shows and engage in interactive opportunities created by networks in partnership with Twitter. 

Compared to Facebook, Twitter simply provides a superior platform for cross-promotion of TV shows. Twitter’s hashtags and trending topics provide interactive marketing opportunities for TV networks and advertisers. Networks are using hashtags to promote their shows. For example, NBC created a #savebenson campaign for the premiere of Law & Order SVU.

Facebook’s now somewhat archaic platform lacks the dynamics to compel users to treat the platform as a second screen. Additionally, Facebook does not provide any feature comparable to Twitter’s hashtags and trending topics. Nor has it provided any real chance for direct user interaction with TV shows as Twitter has.

Twitter is becoming ingrained in the TV viewing experience. In 2013 viewers had the chance to tweet an “Instant Save” for contestants on The Voice. The votes were cast, tallied, and announced all in the course of the one-hour reality show.

TwitterSecond, as alluded to above, Twitter’s platform provides superior opportunities for users to interact with their favorite TV shows and sports broadcasts.  As TV transitions from cable to broadband, Twitter is at the forefront of pushing TV from a passive to interactive experience. Viewers can live tweet TV shows, commercials extend from the TV to Twitter, and the cast of TV shows often live-tweet during broadcast to drive discussion and create buzz for their respective programs.

Third, Twitter has already built relationships with the major TV networks, cable networks, cable providers, and the NFL. In November, Twitter and Comcast announced a partnership to create SEEit; an application that connects a user’s Twitter account directly to their TV. SEEit essentially allows viewers to record or turn on TV shows as they read about them on Twitter.

The social network has also formed partnerships with major networks in an effort to drive TV ratings. Twitter and CBS partnered in an effort to promote 42 of the network’s shows via second screen interactions with Twitter users. One aspect of the promotion included the cast and crew of the shows live-tweeting during their respective premieres in an effort to give the network a lift during sweeps week.

Twitter seems to understand TV better than Facebook and its other competitors and, as a result, has been able to convince execs and advertisers that their platform can add value to a show or TV event. Twitter provided TV networks numbers they could understand when they partnered with Neilsen in 2013 to create the Twitter TV ratings. The ratings measure the total number of user interactions with content about a show. The numbers measure not only how many people have written about the show but also the number of users who have viewed content concerning the show.

While Twitter has established and maintained second social screen supremacy, Facebook has remained quiet about its plans for the future, perhaps signaling that  the social media giant does not have anything up its sleeve. However, Facebook still has substantially more users and capital than Twitter. But with seemingly no plan in place, any measure by Facebook to reenter the race for second screen supremacy may be too little too late.

What’s next? Twitter has already set its sights on becoming the choice second screen application for videogames.

See the weekly Twitter TV ratings here:



About Author

Lauren Kreiser, J.D. is a law clerk with the Pierce Law Group in Beverly Hills, CA focusing on entertainment law with an emphasis on film and television

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