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Facebook, Twitter Battle for TV Network Ad Dollars

Facebook, Twitter Battle for TV Network Ad Dollars
By Jennifer LeClaire

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The data provided to the TV networks should be seen in the larger context of Facebook trying a wide range of methodologies to prove value to marketers. By showing a direct relationship, as Twitter has, between TV and social media Facebook hopes to lure more brand and TV ad dollars to the site, said analyst Greg Sterling.
 


Social media giant Facebook is breaking a sweat to break into the advertising schemes of major television networks. The company is officially providing data to CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox to win their advertising dollars. So says a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal cited Facebook officials in a story that reveals the social networking company will also share relevant data via weekly reports with a few other television networks as it strives to drive new revenue opportunities.

Among the data Facebook will serve up are how many "actions," such as likes, comments and shares, various television episodes generate on Facebook. Other data will show how many members participated in an action, according to the Journal.

Twitter's Big Move

We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his take on the Wall Street Journal report. He told us Facebook and Twitter are competing hard to be the TV advertisers digital platform of choice.

"This data should be seen in the larger context of Facebook trying a wide range of methodologies to prove value to marketers," he said. "By showing a direct relationship, as Twitter has, between TV and social media Facebook hopes to lure more brand and TV ad dollars to the site."

Twitter isn't taking Facebook's moves lying down. The microblogging service just rolled out Nielsen Twitter TV Rating. The companies announced their exclusive, multi-year agreement in Dec. 2012. Essentially, Nielsen and Twitter will deliver a syndicated-standard metric around the reach of the TV conversation on Twitter.

"The Nielsen Twitter TV Rating is a significant step forward for the industry, particularly as programmers develop increasingly captivating live TV and new second-screen experiences, and advertisers create integrated ad campaigns that combine paid and earned media," said Steve Hasker, president of Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen. "As a media measurement leader we recognize that Twitter is the preeminent source of real-time television engagement data."

Comparing Data Points

It remains to be seen just how robust the Nielsen Twitter TV Rating report is, but given that it carries the Nielsen name chances are it offers valuable information. By contrast, the Journal reports that the Facebook reports are surface-level. One episode of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," for example, generated more than 1 million interactions for about 750,000 people, the paper said.

"The conversation is being generated by a group that is much more representative of the general population -- that means we should have a better signal as it relates to ratings," Daniel Slotwiner, the head of Facebook's measurement team, told the Journal.

Nielsen is helping Twitter prove its case. In August, Nielsen released findings that provide statistical evidence of a two-way causal influence between broadcast TV tune-in for a program and the Twitter conversation around that program. Nielsen's Twitter Causation Study included time series analysis to determine if Twitter activity drives increased tune-in rates for broadcast TV and if broadcast TV tune-in leads to increased Twitter activity. This latest study follows research released earlier this year that quantified the correlation between TV ratings and Twitter.

"These results substantiate what many of our TV partners have been telling us anecdotally for years: namely, that Twitter drives tune-in, especially for live, linear television programming," said Ali Rowghani, Twitter's Chief Operating Officer. He called Twitter a "complementary tool for broadcasters to engage their audience, drive conversation about their programming, and increase tune-in."
 

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