Dec 23, 2015

Week In Review: People Love Twitter. They Just Don’t Want To Use It.

Originally published at on December 11, 2015

Perhaps the biggest news in the industry this week was contained in Twitter’s blog post about their decision to start showing ads to non-logged in viewers. That critical nugget is that the Home of the Fail Whale claims to have 500 million “non-logged-in” users (versus their alleged 300 million logged-in users.)  That’s a number made all the more significant by the fact that few people actually believe Twitter has anywhere close to 300 million active users—factoring in all the multiple accounts, spam accounts, sock puppet accounts, “buy Twitter followers” bot accounts and whatnot, if the real number is over 100 million that’s impressive.

But it’s long been our contention that while not that many people actually use Twitter, there are lots of people who care what’s being said on the platform. That’s partially a result of the attention Twitter gets from the media (which is in turn the result of the fact that so many media figures are active on Twitter) and partially a result of the fact that Twitter is actually a good source of real time news.

So what’s that mean for the television industry?
It means that running ads on Twitter can be a good way to reach your potential audience and create awareness for your show. Because, with a hat tip to Netflix, awareness is the new black. Live tune-in is great, but that ship has sailed and viewers are watching on their own schedules. But they are watching and if you remind them that your show is on, they’ll eventually tune in. And with Nielsen’s TAM ratings on the horizon, the need to show strong overnights is less compelling than ever. Twitter creates buzz and excitement and can help boost your show to the “want to binge on” list.

What you should do about it.
Shift some of your social spending to Twitter as an experiment. Hope that Twitter gives you a breakdown of which leads came from non-logged in users (NLUs). If not, see if they’ll let you use a unique URL for NLUs. Test to see if Twitter’s driving traffic beyond the air date. You will eventually hit on the correct formula.

NBC Launches SeeSo (Sort Of)
NBC launched the beta version of their new SeeSo comedy app this week as well. Reaction was pretty favorable (See Alex Nagler’s review) and the new platform promises to include as many as 20 new original series. That’s big news for anyone creating comedy and for comedy fans. What remains to be seen is how NBC is planning to use those shows. Will they be a farm team, where the hits get bumped up to network status or will they be shows that appeal to niche audiences, too small for network but perfect for SeeSo? And if it’s the latter, how will the writers, actors and producers feel about the lower rates they’re likely going to get paid.

Why It Matters
SeeSo is unique in that it’s one of the first network OTT apps that’s not just a repository for existing network content. That should prove to be a smart move as it gives viewers a real reason to sign up for the app and expands the potential audience to viewers who already get NBC via their MVPD subscription, but may want to sign up for the additional programming, especially if those series prove popular.

What You Should Do About It.
Imitate. NBC seems to really be on to something here, creating a vastly expanded audience for their OTT app, while also creating more monetizable assets with the additional programming. That’s a win/win all around.

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