Facebook and Twitter Battle Over Social TV

Panasonic-Twitter-FacebookThe battle for Social TV heats up as Breaking Bad’s final episode generated over 5.5 million interactions from more than 3 million Facebook users. (The entire previous season overall produced 23 million Facebook interactions from 11 million users.). Meanwhile, Twitter had 1.47 million tweets from 682,000+ uniques for the same show.

What do these numbers mean? In a nutshell, It means that the number of users who start watching a particular TV show based on social media conversations takes place more often in Facebook than on Twitter. In fact, by more than 2 to 1.

But as Sarah Perez of TechCrunch points out, the comparison between Facebook and Twitter concerning social TV is more of an apples/oranges comparison than apples/apples.

“…Facebook is much bigger than Twitter: 1.15 billion monthly actives versus Twitter’s 200+ million. One could argue its numbers for almost anything will be bigger. But really, it’s Facebook’s looser definition of active engagement that makes comparing its figures to Twitter’s a problem. Facebook, you see, counts nearly any engagement with its content among its “interactions” – it includes not only those posting status updates themselves, but also others who then like, comment or re-share that post to their own networks of friends.

Facebook counting a “like” as an “interaction” is like Twitter counting a “favorite.” It’s not an ideal metric to lump in with Facebook posts or re-shares, but, rather, should be treated as a separate category of interaction. After all, there are a number of reasons why you may like someone’s Facebook status, and it’s not always directly related to the TV content they’ve shared.”

Twitter is a platform that collects a massive amount of data on all formats of digital media consumption. It experimented in the past with a #Music app, which is mostly dead at this point, but they learned from the experience, and as a result, will soon be launching a new television-oriented experience called #TV, which just might put it in the dominate position.

“Leveraging the real-time nature of Twitter will be instrumental to the success or failure of Twitter and TV. Facebook is gunning hard for the television market, and has been releasing big numbers surrounding ‘interactions’ generated by Likes and comments. Depending on how you interpret those numbers, Twitter either has its work cut out for it or has little to worry about.

Twitter has been working on this TV thing in a dedicated fashion for quite a while. It made itself into a bona-fide internet TV ratings system with Nielsen and recently started rolling out ad-targeting programs to woo TV money. It’s convinced that it has more to offer to TV than Facebook, and Facebook is just as convinced of the opposite. I doubt this tit-for-tat will be settled soon, but there’s a strong  case to be made that Twitter is actually in the better position, for now.”

One example of a #TV feature twitter is developing is a DVR-like control over the flow of live twitter feeds around live TV events.

“Dick Costolo, Twitter’s CEO, is reportedly working on a social media DVR. The aim of the project is to highlight the best moments and reactions from live events, and then allow users to replay the content at a later time. “Right now, you get purely the reverse chronological order of the tweets. It would be nice to see things like a graphic of spikes in the conversation. And be able to scroll back to that time and see what happened at that particular moment,” Costolo said.

It’s easy to see why Twitter is so successful when placed alongside live TV. Take the NBA playoffs for example, which recently came to a close this past week. Twitter was a delicate mix of humorous commentary, serious reflection, in-game photos, and an expression of either pure elation or defeat when the final buzzer sounded.”.

While twitter does not have the same user base numbers as Facebook, it has a platform that allows to be more vertically focused, such as Television, (#TV) and it is aggressively pursuing these niches to dominate the social interactions for each vertical.

It will be interesting to see how this battle develops over time.

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