Twitter exec: Live TV will increase as viewers escape spoilers

Jean-Philippe Maheu, a Twitter executive, has said that he believes live-TV viewing for popular shows will increase as viewers increasingly fear that social media will yield more spoilers – although he concedes the evidence is “anecdotal”.

Maheu, who was CEO of Bluefin Labs before Twitter acquired it, was speaking at the IAB Cross-Screen Afterfronts conference, and emphasised Twitter’s efforts to integrate with TV programming, whether through hashtags in commercials, its Amplify offering or TV ad targeting.

Maheu offered statistics to highlight the convergence: 40 per cent of people who own a smartphone or tablet are using social networks while watching TV and 95 per cent of social-media conversation around TV takes place on Twitter.

Twitter technology allows it to build graphs useful for advertisers through its monitoring of 121 channels. It can track which shows the ads run in and then provide information on the Twitter activity around the shows – perhaps offering some insight into engagement and influencing media strategy.

In September, Nielsen will launch its Twitter TV Rating that will track Twitter conversation. Even with acquisition of social analytics company Bluefin, Twitter is looking to move out of the measurement arena, believing that more credibility will come from a third-party data provider.

Maheu was asked whether advertisers and networks might take pause in viewing Twitter activity as a signpost since tweeters may not be representative of the full TV viewing population. Maheu said Nielsen is working on building correlation models. “We don’t believe our signal should be a substitute for something … we think it should be additive.”

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