Twitter to Provide Links to Programs in Comcast Partnership

Twitter Inc. will provide links that let pay-TV users record or view programs on Comcast Corp.’s cable service, a partnership designed to take advantage of social-media conversations about TV shows.

Beginning in November, Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers will be able to click on a See It button in Twitter posts about programs and movies, producing a menu of options including tuning into live TV or starting an on-demand show through their set-top boxes, according to a statement today. Twitter plans to offer the option to other video providers and other networks beyond the broadcast and cable channels operated by Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit.

Twitter, which began in 2006 as a service for 140-character status updates, is pushing for more video content to get users to spend more time on its site and watch ads. The partnership helps Comcast increase viewership for NBCUniversal and takes advantage of new features that lets customers control its Xfinity set-top boxes with mobile devices, said Sam Schwartz, the cable company’s executive vice president of strategy and development.

“There are tons of conversation about live TV, but does that really lead to someone programming their DVR or picking up their remote?” Schwartz said. “This very clearly and in a measurable way links that conversation with consumption. If you’re a programmer, you monetize best if someone is watching that show live on a television set. It’s a win-win-win for Twitter, the programmers and the distributors.”

Beyond Twitter

Comcast’s goal is to have See It buttons on all pages on the Web, similar to Facebook Inc.’s Like button, Schwartz said. An online review about a movie could have a See It button at the bottom of the story that directs readers to buy a ticket through Fandango Inc., which Comcast owns, Schwartz said.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, is already discussing adding See It buttons with Facebook and other sites, he said.

Twitter, based in San Francisco, has also held talks with Viacom Inc. about hosting TV clips and ads on its site, people with knowledge of the matter said in April. Twitter released an S-1 filing earlier this month, officially paving the way for an initial public offering.

“Twitter is where television viewers come to talk about what they’re watching on TV when they’re watching it,” Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Millions of users are exposed to the live conversation that unfolds on Twitter while a show is on the air and now, with See It, they’ll be able to tune in directly from a tweet.”

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