Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Really, Really Likes TV

Hey! It was Twitter’s fifth birthday yesterday! I remember hearing about that somewhere.

Ah–here’s one of the places I heard about it: Conan O’Brien’s newish show, where co-founder Biz Stone popped in for a chat. (O’Brien, you may have heard, is really into Twitter these days.)

Stone, who is on TV a lot, is good at it, too.

Stone’s appearances are fun, but Twitter’s real embrace of TV is happening a little bit offstage, where the company is working hard to get itself integrated into TV shows.

It’s still unclear exactly what TV can really mean for Twitter, but the company is smart to try to get itself into the industry, whose $70 billion-plus in annual revenue still makes the Web ad business look puny.

Twitter’s media blog, for instance, is touting Comedy Central’s use/promotion of the service during its kinda-unwatchable Donald Trump roast.

Comedy Central ran a Twitter hashtag on the bottom left corner for the duration of the show, prompting people to use it, which helped make the term appear on Twitter’s “trending” list, which presumably prompted more people to check out the show.

That’s a cool virtuous cycle, though I wonder if that’s a novelty that goes away. More important: Even if that strategy works long-term, how does Twitter turn Comedy Central’s use into revenue?

Still, if the Twitter team can convince the networks–and their advertisers–that Twitter helps bring more eyeballs to shows, and/or helps keep them there, then that’s going to be worth a lot, to someone. Twitter just has to figure out how to get a slice of that.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik