Media

Twitter’s TV business is all talk, says NBC exec: ‘The emperor wears no clothes’

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Twitter has yet to produce meaningful results for major broadcast network TV shows, reports the Financial Times.

Over the last couple years, Twitter’s business strategy has been to grab a chunk of the massive multi-billion dollar TV advertising budget by making its social network more appealing to TV networks.

Some of the plans Twitter has made to do this include its ‘See it’ partnership with Comcast, its Amplify platform for TV advertisers, and its partnership to improve TV ratings with Nielsen.

All of these initiatives were done with the understanding that eventually, Twitter’s user base would help TV networks boost ratings for their programming. But a top NBCUniversal exec said yesterday that this hasn’t really happened thus far — despite all the big talk from Twitter.

“It just isn’t true,” NBCUniversal head of research Alan Wurtzel told FT. “I am saying the emperor wears no clothes. It is what it is. These are the numbers.”

Of course, just because Twitter hasn’t seemed to increase the number of eyeballs watching the most popular programs doesn’t mean it’s entirely useless. Twitter could be increasing the engagement level current TV watchers are having during a show, which is harder to track. And Twitter could also be more successful in driving larger audiences to smaller, lesser known TV programs, as Re/code’s Peter Kafka points out.

Still, Wurtzel’s comments are something Twitter shareholders will likely pay close attention to.

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