SAN FRANCISCO — Social media and TV are a match made in heaven, according to Fred Graver, head of TV partnerships for Twitter.
“We have set ourselves as a complement to the TV industry,” he said during a keynote Q&A with Broadcasting & Cable editor in chief Melissa Grego. “We know the TV business; we know people in the industry.”
Graver, a programming veteran late of MTV, NBC, Travel Channel and Disney, explained that Twitter has been active in calling producers and working up strategies in which the social-networking platform can help build audience and ratings — and pull in new revenue.
“We have actually found ways to help networks make money,” Graver said, citing examples in which Twitter and networks have worked together on campaigns to promote shows via the platform. Some of that work has included embedding streaming video highlights into the Twitter “card,” the preview snippets automatically attached to posts that link to content on another site.
Twitter, which has developed campaigns around big TV events such as the NBA Finals, the NCAA basketball tournament and ABC series Scandal, is competing for the share of consumers who use second-screen TV apps, but the size and nature of its platform make Twitter particularly well-suited for the live audience, he said.
“The value of Twitter as a platform is that it’s live and public and conversational — an audience begins to form around those shows,” said Graver, who joined Twitter last June. “Twitter wasn’t built as a second screen device, but every night millions of people use it that way.”
Water coolers are a social gathering place from an earlier age, but Twitter now represents the “watercooler conversation, writ large,” Graver said.
Twitter has been fleshing out its social TV strategy internally, through partnerships and via M&A, such as its recent deal to buy Trendrr, a New York-based firm that specializes in tracking TV-focused social media activity. Tredrr works with some big names, including ABC, MTV, Telemundo and Univision, and has already developed a Twitter-certified product called Curatorr. Twitter also has a multiyear partnership with Nielsen aimed at producing a “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating” via the use of syndicated-standard metrics.