Twitter Wants to Turn Your TV Chatter into a Bigger Business

As Twitter prepares for its impending IPO, the tech company has hired away a big Google media executive to buff up its TV ad-sales business, which will clearly be its big selling point to investors. 

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As Twitter prepares for its impending IPO, the tech company has hired away a big Google media executive to buff up its TV ad-sales business, to drive ratings in a more traditional way. Jennifer Prince, the new head of Twitter’s entertainment sales will help Twitter pitch television and movie studios on new ways they can use the platform to sell their shows and movies, reports Variety's Todd Spangler. "All entertainment brands are working with Twitter, but they’re just scratching the surface," she said. Prince will help Twitter more than just scratch, meeting with "key entertainment brands to find out what exactly what they’re doing with Twitter today and where they want to go," she added. So, basically, she will get movie and TV companies to advertise their shows on the platform.

Twitter is trying to sell itself as a companion to television, claiming that its service drives ratings as a way to convince brands to pay big money to use its platform for advertising. A recent Nielsen study found found that Twitter chatter drives ratings, but only a tiny bit. And the highest profile Twitter-TV sensation, Sharknado, turned into a ratings bust. But the Prince hire will drive ratings in a more traditional way. The pitch goes something like: Twitter's users talk about TV, so they're probably the type of people who will want to watch your shows. Indeed, Twitter's already helping shows get more viewers by testing a "what's trending now" banner, according to the Toronto Star's Karissa Donkin.

This all fits into Twitter's plan to steal away lucrative TV ad sales dollars thus proving it has a sure fire way to make money for its future investors in public company land — unlike some other tech companies. If it can prove its service has a strong connection with TV and its viewership, then it becomes a better sell to brands, who can use the service together with traditional mid-show television ads to connect with viewers. Twitter already boasts that brands that use both Promoted Tweets and TV-Ads "demonstrate 95 percent stronger message association and 58 percent higher purchase intent compared to users identified as being exposed on TV alone," the company wrote on its blog.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.