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Cards is the name of the game and Twitter’s holding aces

Untitled(This is a guest post written by Jesse Redniss the Chief Strategy Officer at Spredfast. Redniss is a social TV and second screen expert who was a 9-year TV network executive.)

Another week has gone by in the upfront season, and while the networks and agencies are starting to move ahead, Twitter is progressing by leaps and bounds with announcements and acquisitions that are setting the stage for the next wave in the evolution of social TV and Second Screen. With all of the information that has flooded our streams in the past few weeks, let’s take a look at a possible strategy that could play out to be one of the biggest jolts to the maturation of social TV, second screen and companion experiences. 

Before we play our game of cards here, lets do a quick recap of the pertinent news to provide some context to lead the premise of the theoretical strategy:

  • A few weeks ago, Twitter and Comcast announced that Twitter based information is now directly integrated into the guide of the X1 platform. Not only will users be able to scroll through the guide and see which shows are currently trending on Twitter, they will be able to reorganize and filter the programming based on what’s trending and change the channel from there.

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  • Last week, Xbox and Twitter announced that Twitter will be directly integrated into the Xbox One’s TV experience. Automatically displaying tweets related to the show you are watching in a Lower Third type overlay experience as well as Trending hashtag and topic information integrated into the Xbox One’s OneGuide.

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  • As part of Twitter’s acquisition of Trendrr last summer, they also acquired a Twitter certified product called Curatorr. Curatorr had been in the market with a few TV networks since 2010, and it streamlined the workflow for the TV Networks to create curated twitter streams. So, let’s just make a broad assumption here that Curatorr may be powering curated streams of show based twitter content for EVERY show in Xbox One TV. Keeping in mind here that Curatorr is a Twitter owned product, these curated streams of content can be further fine tuned after the initial airing of shows and can then be “restreamed” as a Social DVR of sorts. There are a few companies in the space that provide this feature as well, such as Tomorrowish and even the company I work with, Spredfast.
  • Adobe released a “State of the Industry” insights report on online video viewing that revealed the explosive growth of the TV Everywhere “TVE” products being offered by the TV Networks and MVPDs. TVE viewing rose 246% in the Q1 2013 to Q1 2014 time period. What does this mean?  It’s reaching break-out velocity and going mainstream with over one in five U.S households watching TV Everywhere content. And while still a smaller part of overall TV viewing at 6%, viewing on game consoles (Xbox One, PS4 etc..) and OTT devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku etc..) saw a major increase in consumption with a 123% increase.
  • Over the past year, Twitter has been releasing new “Twitter Cards” into the wild. Here’s a link to the documentation the Twitter cards use very Media friendly Photo Card, Gallery Card (collection of photos), Player Card (for video) and Web Card (a card to feature a page on your website)
  • As reported by TechCrunch, Twitter announced the acquisition of Namo for about $50 Million dollars. Namo is a specialist in “Native Ad” content with a focus on mobile. Ingrid Lunden (@ingridlunden) makes a keen observation about this purchase:

“The cards that Twitter has been integrating into its stream have been growing in terms of the kinds of features that they cover — from buttons to get people to request more information, to videos and so on (with commerce potentially coming soon too?). So what Namo will bring is technology and engineers/expertise to expand that set of features. One recent example included adding a carousel-style feature to Namo’s ad format.”

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Ok, so now that we’re all thinking about cards, Lets play a game by showing our hand first, and then explain the theoretical strategy to get there.

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There it is, the Game of Thrones digital experience. Yes, it’s true. Here’s how any and every show on “television” could theoretically have a rich synchronized companion experience served up via Twitter Cards through the partnerships that Twitter is striking with players like Xbox, Comcast and I’m sure many more to come.

As Xbox One TV deploys a plethora of TV Network Apps and Twitter integrates the Namo team and technology to help fortify the fledgling Twitter Cards offering, TV Networks will be able to create rich card moments that can be timed image, video, poll cards etc. to synchronously appear with certain scenes in a show through the Curatorr curated Twitter stream that sits in the lower third portion of the screen. Along with great commentary from talent, writers and fans, the Networks will be able to insert these moments on their own using technology platform providers such as WatchWith and Spredfast. These experiences can be both during live linear initial airing, as well as any user-initiated view at any point in time on their Xbox One. And with Smart glass, your tablet or phone could house the Sync Second Screen or SocialTV experience and leave the big screen clean for the core storytelling.

Playing out where this could snowball; these features could be easily inserted into the Comcast X1 experience, DirecTV, Dish offerings, TV Network Apps, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc…

So, is everybody ready to play some Poker?

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