If Comcast has its way, a partnership forged last week with Twitter represents a big first step forward in the MSO’s plan to weave TV viewing into the fabric of social networking.
Last week, Twitter was named the launch partner for “See It,” a social-TV system that will allow Comcast customers to tune to live TV or set DVR recordings directly from the Twitter app. While that gives Comcast a foray into one of the largest social-TV networks in the world, it also has plans to plant the See It button across a much broader set of Web services and applications.
“Ultimately, we’re looking forward to putting the See It button across more apps and Web sites,” Comcast Cable chief business development officer Sam Schwartz told Multichannel News in an interview.
Comcast hasn’t identified any of those potential targets by name, but Facebook, which is also forging a social TV strategy, is one logical candidate.
See It, developed by Comcast and set to launch sometime in November, will allow Xfinity customers to tune to a channel, start a VOD title on the set-top box, jump to a TV Everywhere app on a mobile device, and set reminders, all directly through Twitter.
Comcast said See It would also offer discovery features that can be used by all consumers. “If you’re not an Xfinity subscriber, there’s still functionality in that button,” Schwartz said. “It sort of has something for everyone.”
Comcast is already having discussions about extending See It to other video distributors and programmers, Schwartz said . He expects some of those partnerships to take hold by early 2014.
Operators and programmers contacted by Multichannel News have not announced any commitments to integrate Comcast’s See It button/platform, but at least one acknowledged that talks are underway.
“We have had discussions, and we’re looking into it,” a Time Warner Cable spokeswoman said via email. “We continue to explore different ways to integrate our customers’ interests with their viewing experience.”
Cox Communications didn’t say if it has held similar talks, but a spokesman said, “potential future product enhancements based on research could include partnerships with other organizations and integrations of new technology.”
Gaining entry to the See It club will be free. “Right now we don’t have any plans to charge for it,” Schwartz said. The other piece of the Comcast- Twitter partnership — NBCUniversal’s involvement with Twitter’s advertising-focused Amplify program, which promotes shows and video clips in sponsored, embedded tweets — will use a revenue-sharing model.
Comcast is looking to expand its “See It” social- TV product on Twitter to other Web platforms and pay TV providers.