CBS is now Twitter’s biggest partner in the TV biz, with the companies announcing a pact to sell sponsored video-based tweets for 42 of the Eye’s shows as well as many of its Internet properties this fall.
The partnership will cover 24 CBS brands, going beyond TV, and will include CBS.com, CBSSports.com and CBSSports.com Fantasy and CBS News, GameSpot, TVGuide.com, CNET and ZDNet, said David Morris, chief client officer of CBS Interactive.
The Twitter Amplify program, which lets media companies place sponsored tweets with embedded video clips, offers the opportunity to connect audiences on TV and online, in “real time on the world’s biggest and most social platform,” Morris said.
CBS and Twitter made the announcement Monday at a presentation to advertisers and agencies as part of New York’s Advertising Week.
The deal with CBS is one of the most comprehensive partnerships for Twitter’s Amplify, covering sports, news and entertainment programming, according to Glenn Brown, director of Twitter Amplify partnerships.
Twitter is doubling down efforts to generate revenue from TV networks, ahead of its initial public offering expected in the next few months. Earlier this month the social media company filed documents for an IPO, but those are confidential for now under a 2012 law intended to spur smaller businesses to go public.
Twitter’s 30-plus other Amplify partners include ESPN, Turner Sports and the NBA, Viacom, Fox, BBC America, Fuse TV, The Weather Channel, A+E Networks, Discovery Communications and Major League Baseball.
To date, Twitter has run about 16 campaigns with about 20 different sponsors, Brown said. Those include Sony Pictures Entertainment’s promotion or “This Is the End” in Turner’s NBA highlights; Heineken’s promoted tweets for U.S. Open replays, in a deal with the USTA; and Verizon Wireless sponsored tweets for ESPN’s college football.
CBS hasn’t clinched advertising deals yet for Twitter Amplify, according to Morris, but he said one advertiser wanted to buy in with 20 shows packaged together. The Eye’s Amplify programs will include “60 Minutes in 60 Seconds,” CBS primetime programming and CNET’s “The Next Big Thing” series.
In their pitch to Madison Avenue, Twitter execs position the service as “the social soundtrack of television,” emphasizing its real-time and public nature — contrasting that with the closed environment of Facebook. Twitter has said it has more than 200 million active users, who send up to 1 billion tweets over a 48-hour period.
Separately, CBS over the weekend began using Videogram, a new video-visualization application, on Twitter to promote four new comedies fall 2013 TV season — “The Crazy Ones,” starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, as well as “Mom,” “We Are Men” and “The Millers.”
In addition, the Eye is in the midst of #CBSTweetWeek, which actually runs longer than a week — from Sept. 18 to Oct. 3. The promotion, CBS’s fifth annual “Tweet Week,” features talent from its shows tweeting live with fans and sharing photos and videos on Twitter, Instagram and Vine.
About 85% of Americans watch primetime TV while using tablet or smartphone, according to a Nielsen study from November 2012.
“There is a force multiplier when you add Twitter to your TV (advertising) investment,” said Matt Derella, head of sales to large marketers in the U.S. He touted figures from Nielsen that show Twitter campaigns coupled with TV ads deliver 95% stronger message association, 58% higher purchase intent and 27% increase in engagement.
There are synergies between TV and Twitter, but it isn’t completely clear what causes some highly tweeted shows to have high ratings. A Nielsen study released in August found that live TV ratings had a statistically significant impact in related tweets among 48% of the episodes sampled, while the volume of tweets caused statistical lifts in live ratings among 29% of the eps. But Nielsen doesn’t know why some TV shows work better with Twitter than others.