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Finding the tweet spot

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18 December 2013

Twitter’s head of UK broadcast partnerships, Dan Biddle on how TV makers are using twitter to greater effect

How has TV’s use of Twitter changed?
Over the last year it has evolved though the grammar is still being learned. Some shows tweet too much, other shows tweet up to the point of TX then don’t tweet during but that’s when everyone is tweeting. It’s missing an opportunity to join the conversation, gather more followers and add value to your show.

Why is Twitter important to TV?
95% of all online public conversations about telly happen on twitter, 40% of all tweets during primetime are about TV. There’s a symbiotic relationship. And the amount of tweets and conversation around shows is becoming part of the measurement of television. Nielsen runs the Nielsen television twitter rating in the States. It’s done causality studies and shown correlations between twitter activity and TV ratings – people tweeting, seeing tweets and being driven to that show.

Is there an obvious moment in a show for tweets?
There’s a ‘tweet spot’ moment that everybody will talk about. In the edit suite producers now increasingly look for the moment, grab that as a still, give it to the twitter guys and they will be able to tweet that at the moment of TX because we know that’s the moment that’s going to move people.

But if people will tweet it anyway…?
Producers should tweet what everyone wishes they tweeted so they will retweet you. It will be your best content rather than some shonky screen grab. The message should go out that if you’re not watching BBC or ITV you’re missing this. And it’s not just coming from the broadcaster it’s coming from your friends.

Is live TV the best match with Twitter?
One of the preconceptions a while ago was that with live shows you can bring the audience in and read out tweets but you can’t do that in a pre recorded show. But we’ve even seen movies do well on twitter. The Krays was on ITV4 and they promoted that the Kemp brothers were going to live tweet the movie. Duncan Jones the director of Moon and Source Code will live tweet whenever his films are on in the UK.

Is it just a push to the live TX?
Twitter is a live friends recommendation engine. But anything that happens during or after the show is also a drive to VOD. The Voice in the US has taken a leap forward with twitter voting. Tweets don’t disappear down a well. In any other interaction unless you’re read out on the show or put in a lower third Aston it might as well not have happened. With twitter, because it’s public, you’re more likely to get responded to – not necessarily by the show but someone may reply to you or favourite you or retweet you.

What’s the best kind of hashtag?
A hashtag can either just be your brand that says here is the campfire that we’ll sit round or it can inspire people to be creative and pull them in to a show. Ideally you want to give people that opportunity to be creative and witty or share a story.

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