Twitter tunes in to TV partnerships ahead of IPO
As part of the deal, Twitter shares some of the revenue from Verizon’s advertising spend when the phone company pays for "promoted tweets." Previously, the money might have gone only to the league itself.
Twitter’s projected 2013 revenue is about $582 million, according to research firm eMarketer. At the moment, the company generates tens of millions of dollars of revenue from all of its TV deals, including those with ESPN, Turner networks, CBS and others, according to Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group.
That’s not huge. However, says Wieser: "This year, it’s about getting the foot in the door."
Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter estimates that Twitter gets just a small fraction of its revenue from the TV deals — around 1 percent. But by next year, the deals could amount to 5 percent, and 15 percent the year after, he says.
Twitter isn’t alone in its quest to befriend TV content companies. Facebook, too, is recognizing the value of live TV chatter. Because of its sheer size — nearly 1.2 billion users versus Twitter’s 218 million — Facebook has more conversations than any other social network. During the "Breaking Bad" finale, more than 3 million people generated 5.5 million "interactions," that is, status updates, comments or "likes."
For now, Facebook’s TV partnerships are not intended to generate revenue, the company says. Rather, they are "focused on helping people discover great content," says Justin Osofsky, Facebook’s vice president of media partnerships.
Over the past few months, Facebook has rolled out more Twitter-like features as competition between the world’s leading social networks heats up. There are now hashtags on Facebook, and the company is encouraging celebrities to use its site to interact with fans — just as many of them do on Twitter.
Ryan Nakashima contributed from Los Angeles.