David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer at CBS, says that Facebook has significantly better Social TV data than Twitter and Nielsen, and Social TV and second screens open up billions of dollars in new revenue opportunities for broadcasters.
Speaking at the UBS 41st Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, he said:
- Facebook is developing its own Social TV metric, with encouragement from CBS
- It already provides better Social TV data than the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings from Nielsen’s SocialGuide division
- Social TV and second screen initiatives can enable CBS and other US broadcasters to tap $88 billion of potential new revenue
Why Facebook’s Social TV data is better than Twitter’s
Poltrack revealed that Facebook is working on its own Social TV metric, with input from CBS.
“This fall, Facebook began developing their own measurement tool, covering their conversations about television.”
“They have been working with Keller Fay to coordinate these measures, at our urging.”
The Keller Fay agency tracks real-life word-of-mouth conversations. See this AdAge article for how a Keller Faye top 10 for TV shows, as measured by viewers’ conversations, closely matches Nielsen ratings.
Compared with Nielsen’s SocialGuide analytics, “The Facebook top 10 [TV shows] correlates much better with both the Keller Fay top 10 and with Nielsen TV ratings.”
The problem with the Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, says Poltrack, is that they do not take Facebook activity into account.
“Research has shown that Facebook activity about television far exceeds that of Twitter and the other social services.”
Although Poltrack did not say so, the large size of Facebook’s user base means that it is more representative of the mass market TV audience than Twitter’s smaller number of users.
In the latest edition of our Social TV strategy report, Futurescape estimates that in the USA, Facebook’s monthly active users (MAUs) represent some 70% of the TV audience over the age of 12, while Twitter’s MAUs are 20.7% (source: Social TV, 6th edition).
Many Social TV commentators have concluded that Twitter has won the battle for Social TV.
The company worked hard on its strategy of partnering with the television industry, developed some highly innovative products designed to complement TV advertising, and conducted a highly effective PR campaign about Twitter’s Social TV strengths in the run-up to its IPO.
However, Poltrack’s revelations show that it is far too early for Twitter to be declared the victor.
Facebook still has good reason to keep on challenging Twitter for the Social TV market, as it has been throughout 2013, with the rollout of the Watching action and the launch of hashtags.
Next steps for Facebook
The social network needs to:
- Fully develop and launch its Social TV metrics
- Support the launch with a PR campaign as effective as Twitter’s
- Create an innovative set of products to monetize its users’ Social TV activity
If Facebook can still emerge as the more effective Social TV partner for the TV industry, Wall Street may begin to question Twitter’s whole TV strategy.
What does this mean for Twitter?
Such a public statement from a well-respected industry figure is a setback to Twitter’s Social TV ambitions.
Twitter based much of its IPO story and revenue projections on the opportunities from its TV partnerships.
Nielsen and Twitter will now have to substantiate why their ratings are nevertheless an effective metric for measuring Social TV.
US broadcasters can tap $88 billion in new revenue via Social TV and second screening
Although Poltrack emphasised the superiority of Facebook’s data, he also pointed to Twitter as a key partner for Social TV monetization, via products such as Amplify. This enables broadcasters to embed video clips, such as sports highlights, into tweets and share the pre-roll ad revenue with Twitter.
He believes that such products enable US broadcasters to access for the first time very significant markets via second screens, up to $88 billion in value.
“CBS is actively involved with Twitter on Amplify and we have already signed up several clients covering the sports area, the news area and the entertainment programming area.”
“These second screen services are tapping into some huge markets; the coupon redemption market, $16 billion, the search market, $12 billion and the direct response market of $60 billion.”
“With this second screen interactive marriage of television with social services and television with online services, the broadcast network can actually play for the first time in these markets.”
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