Twitter has signed up to a social TV strategic partnership with Comcast that will see select users able to watch or record TV shows direct from tweets.
With more than 24m subscribers, Comcast is the biggest pay-TV provider in the US, and Twitter, having already proved itself as a wide-open forum for discussion on what you’re watching as it happens, wants to further its connection with the TV space and become a place you can also go to watch.
In November, a new feature will start rolling out to Twitter users: a ‘See It’ button. This button will appear alongside tweets about shows from NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast. At launch, See It will work with shows from 11 of NBCUniversal’s channels, spanning entertainment, sports and news. This includes Sunday Night Football, talent show The Voice, new drama The Blacklist, new comedy The Michael J. Fox Show and coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Online remote control
Clicking See It will open up something like the current Twitter cards, offering more information on the show in question. Subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity TV pay-TV service will also be able to perform a number of actions direct from the tweet, including watching either live or on demand through their set-top box, watching online through a computer or mobile device, recording the show on their DVR, or setting a reminder to watch it.
Comcast CEO and chair Brian Roberts describes See It as “a simple yet powerful feature that creates an instant online remote control”.
According to AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka, See It will only appear when tweets link to the official NBCUniversal web pages at first, but this will be refined over time to appear with specific hashtags, possibly even in time for the launch.
Twitter is just the first step
The idea for See It comes from Comcast, which means it won’t just be limited to Twitter in the future, and will even open up to other pay-TV providers and networks. “In early 2014, we’ll also add other video distributors to See It; tweets with See It buttons will be available for shows on multiple networks; and, the feature will be available on sites and apps across the web,” said Comcast Cable’s chief business development officer Sam Schwartz in an interview for the Comcast blog.
Choosing Twitter as the pilot platform for See It is an obvious choice, as the social network is quickly learning how to harness ‘second screen’ users and is keen to increase its advertising opportunities and partnerships ahead of its Thanksgiving IPO.
An additional part of the agreement with Comcast sees NBCUniversal’s advertising clients gaining access to Twitter’s promoted platform.