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Twitter to create ‘social TV lab’ with agency, lands biggest ad deal yet

As Twitter’s inevitable IPO approaches, the company is beginning to put some dollar signs behind its social TV efforts. The Financial Times reports that Twitter has inked a deal with Publicis’s Starcom MediaVest Group to the tune of “hundreds of millions of dollars over several years.” The deal gives SMG’s clients (P&G, Walmart, Coca-Cola, etc.) access to preferred advertising, advertising products and research and data.

“We think that the industry had been focused in the wrong area, which was making a decision between Twitter and TV,” said Adam Bain, Twitter’s president of global revenue, in the FT story. “That’s not what we believe. Twitter is a bridge.” An SMG exec added that Twitter was no longer an experiment but “something essential.”

Twitter and SMG also plan to create a “social TV lab” to better understand how marketers can use social media for ad campaigns that tie to television.

Twitter’s social TV push has been dizzying. After partnering with Nielsen on a new Twitter rating and buying Bluefin Labs — and releasing an advertising API — Twitter has been out selling. As we reported over the weekend, Twitter inked a video advertising deal with BBC America with other TV networks to come. The SMG deal is its biggest yet, and it illustrates Twitter’s first substantial revenue traction with TV.

Still, Twitter only represents a fraction of the $205 billion marketers spend on TV around the world, reports the LA Times. EMarketer expects Twitter’s ad revenue to nearly double this year to $583 million, from $288 million in 2012.

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