Television networks in the country have been using the power of Twitter to engage with viewers, creating a second-screen option for them. With a projected base of 18.1 million users at the end of 2014, India will be the third-largest market for the social media platform. It already has a base of 270 million active users worldwide and television channels and networks seem to be Twitter's key to monetising it. How effective is the latest tool, Twitter Amplify, used by broadcast giants BBC, Fox and Fuse in achieving its target? And are Indian broadcasters warming up to it?
Amplify the tweet
One of the main things that Amplify does, is allow TV channels and networks to share live TV clips or videos in real-time with viewers on Twitter itself, without them having to leave the site. However, the most interesting feature of Twitter Amplify is that it can push tweets and content, to even those who are not followers but share similar interests or have tweeted on related topics and also to related hashtag conversations. It is a paid tool and broadcasters can partner with brands and advertisers to promote them along with the content on the social media site. This allows TV broadcasters to monetise on the ad space alongside the post as well as Twitter gets a share of revenues too.
Speaking about the opportunities of monetising through television channel Parminder Singh, Managing Director, Southeast Asia/India/MENA, Twitter said, “TV is an important sector for us and we already have a few partners on board. We are looking to add some more in the future”. Star Sports is one of the channels which the company is closely working with he added.
According to media reports from US and Europe, where Twitter Amplify has been used for a few months now, the tool has been far more effective in generating good results with live events such as sports and award shows as compared to promoting fiction or non-fiction shows.
An apt example of this would be the US Open final match between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in September last year during which the United States Tennis Association and Heineken used the Amplify tool to post and promote replays of the match. The event was retweeted 1,500 times. This is staggering, considering the fact that getting 100 retweets for a promoted content is normally considered a good number.
Speaking on this, Sangeetha Aiyer, VP & Head Marketing, A+E Networks TV18 said, “I think you need to have a large special event on television to maximise the effect of Amplify through Twitter. You need to have a slightly larger agenda as a brand for the channel to use Amplify. On a day to day basis I don’t think it is feasible in that sense.”
Since there are costs involved, broadcasters have to get advertisers and brands on board for Twitter Amplify. It is still unknown what broadcasters and brands will have to pay to use Amplify in India. Even in the US, there have been confusing reports about brands having to pay both Twitter and the broadcasters for using the tool, raising questions about its commercial feasibility.
Indian broadcasters wait and watch
Though Amplify has just been introduced in India, most broadcasters we spoke to seemed keen to explore the tool but sounded unsure of how to go about it.
Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors said, “We have been looking at it, but are are yet to decide. It is the nature of the shows that allows us to use Amplify. We are also talking to Snapdeal, discussing ways to integrate Amplify with the site.”
Vibha Gosher, SVP & Digital Head, 9X Media admitted it is an interesting tool but the network is not using Amplify as of yet, sticking to Twitter to create buzz around the content. “We are not putting Twitter ads as yet but yes, used the platform for content with impressive results,” she added.
Sharlton Menezes, Marketing Head, English Entertainment, ZEEL said that though they are aware of the new tool, using the social media platform to promote content is what they are doing at the moment.
Considering it is a paid promotion tool, broadcasters and brands are expectedly approaching Twitter Amplify it with some caution.