Twitter is doing well, and just about everyone agrees that in the last four years, the platform has been able to aggregate a substantial user base. The big question, however, has been about the monetisation of these numbers, and what plans Twitter had to crack this tough problem of the digital world. Twitter evidently has decided, and the answer is advertising. “A form of advertising,” states Chloe Sladder, Director, Media Relationships, Twitter USA.
Sladder was speaking at MipTV 2010, which is currently underway at Cannes in France. While she didn’t divulge much, she said that Twitter would look at advertising as its revenue model. She stressed that the goal would be to keep the user experience intact and only allow ads that would resonate with the user. She said, “We would pull off any advertising that would not work for the user or interfere with the user experience.”
She also stated that the platform would also give options of revenue sharing. She remained tight-lipped on any further details of this monetisation plan of Twitter, but it is understood that Twitter is making a complete announcement on this on April 13, 2010.
Twitter and TV: Can the Ratings Click Higher?
Twitter believes that when integrated well, it can serve as a viewership driver for broadcasters. Laying the ground for the argument, Sladder observed that the very fact that Twitter was generating 50 million tweets everyday indicated the amount of content that the platform was generating. Much of these conversations were also about the various programmes on television, and in a sense, Twitter was becoming an electronic programme guide of sorts.
She said, "We describe twitter as information network and not just microblogging or social network. Half of the audience that we see is outside of the US. Some of our key markets are Japan, Spain, Indonesia, Brazil, the UK and Germany. The simplicity of the approach of 140 characters has worked for a farmer in India to someone in San Francisco, who waited all night to get an iPad, so all kinds of users are on the platform. And the water-cooler conversation effect is happening real time. Media can make use of this, whether it is for award shows, series or news.”
Sladder cited the examples of MTV VMA. She explained that the show was seeing 500 to 700 tweets every 30 seconds until a point when Kanye West got on the stage and took an award that was being given to Taylor Swift, and the tweets in that period jumped to 5,000 tweets. Later, Nielsen showed that these were some of the peak viewed moments of the programme and the MTV VMA had the highest ratings in six years. She added, “Nielsen is helping make sense of all this data and how it can be utilised and monetised more.”
Twitter for Media
She then explained the Twitter Media hub that has been formed purely for media. She said, “This is a resource of gathering case studies of the best integration cases and how some media houses are already using Twitter to augment their viewership further.” Some of the examples she cited were of Oxygen channel from the NBC stable that was able to double its ratings with the help of integration; ITV did similar integration for its shows like ‘I’m a Celebrity, get me out of here’. She added that Twitter was looking at creating an ecosystem to build tools for these integrations so that more media companies could take advantage of Twitter’s audience.
Replying to a question from exchange4media, Sladder said that Twitter was looking at the Indian market very closely too. She said, “We are very keen to work with companies in India. MTV, in fact, has already approached us for some ideas that they have. India, with all the Bollywood and politics action, would give many interesting case studies for our media initiative, and we want to work with more Indian companies.”
For now, Sladder didn’t have much to say on what kind of work could be expected from Twitter for India, but as many in the audience also opined, it was a matter of time before Twitter became more active in India.