Twitter’s TV Timeline lets viewers focus on one show while second-screening
TV-friendly social network Twitter is testing a new Social TV service on iPhones which provides users with content and interaction about only one TV show at a time.
The aim is to give users significantly better engagement with their favourite shows than they presently experience when they follow a live broadcast via a Twitter hashtag.
This radical innovation in Social TV design effectively curates just relevant content (screening out irrelevant tweets that use a show’s hashtag) and presents it in an easy-to-use interface.
If successful, the TV Timeline feature will better position Twitter as it competes with Facebook to partner with the television industry and tap advertising revenue related to TV programming.
How TV Timeline works
The service is being trialled on iPhones, automatically detects a user who is interested in a specific TV show, as when they use the show’s hashtag or mention a character from the show.
Twitter then presents an opt-in invitation to join TV Timelines for that show. After the user accepts, they are presented with a radical new interface, designed to be mobile-native. This makes it ideal for second-screen engagement and interaction.
The content is organised into three columns which can easily be swiped through. These are: Highlights, Media and All.
The Highlights offers the best content. Media provides videos, Vines and photos. All is the live conversation about the show.
If a user wants to join in the conversation, the relevant show hashtag is integrated into the tweets they compose.
What are the implications for Twitter’s TV partners?
The promise of TV Timeline is that it can deliver much better levels of Social TV engagement, as it helps viewers focus on a show by removing the distractions of the general Twitter stream and irrelevant tweets.
It future, production teams may feel it is worthwhile to make special or exclusive content for their show’s TV Timeline, knowing it will be consumed by engaged viewers.
From a commercial perspective, the service does not incorporate any advertising in this trial phase.
However, if it is successful and rolled out to all Twitter users, the engaged audiences will be ideal for targeted advertising, presumably in partnership with broadcasters, as with Twitter’s existing Amplify ad platform.
With over a billion Facebook, Twitter and mobile messaging users discussing their TV viewing on second screens, Social TV is crucial for ratings success and advertising effectiveness.
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