Internet

Tweemote control: Comcast turns Twitter into a clicker

Oct. 9, 2013 at 2:09 PM ET

Video: NBC’s parent company Comcast announced a deal with Twitter to meld the broadcast world with social media. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.

Comcast announced on Wednesday that it developed a new remote control feature in partnership with Twitter that allows users to turn the channel through a tweet.

The "See It" button enables viewers to tune in to a live or On Demand show like Sunday Night Football or "The Voice" through their set-top box or mobile device. In addition, the button will let users program digital video recorders or to buy movie tickets through Fandango.

"Now with See It, they'll be able to tune in directly from Twitter," Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, said in a statement.

Comcast and Twitter said they are in discussions with other distribution partners and TV networks to use the feature to promote their content. The hope is the "See It" button will become as ubiquitous as the Facebook "like."

"There is a lot of promotion and discussion around entertainment on Twitter but the link around that consumption is broken," Sam Schwartz, Comcast chief business development officer told Reuters. "This is another tool to help people find what they want to watch." 

(NBC News is a division of NBCUniversal which is owned by Comcast. Both NBCUniversal and Comcast have ongoing partnerships with Twitter focused on new forms of media distribution.)

With the See It button, a tweet promoting "The Voice" will let a Comcast Xfinity subscriber directly watch, record or remind a viewer directly through that tweet.

Media companies will also have a better sense of how to target Twitter efforts since they will be armed with aggregate data of people watching programs.

"We will know how many of those tweets generate consumption back on TV," Schwartz said.

Twitter, which is getting ready to make one of the most highly anticipated public stock debuts since Facebook, is trying to capitalize on its relationship with those who use social media while they watch TV.

The 140-character messaging platform is setting its sights on grabbing a piece of the TV advertising market, the first stop for brands that spend billions of dollars a year for TV commercials.

One of Twitter's efforts is a program called Amplify, that allows broadcasters to show video clips and ads through tweets that are coordinated with what is being shown on TV.

Comcast, the owner of NBC and the largest cable provider in the United States, said the network is participating in the Amplify program. CBS and the NFL recently announced partnerships with Twitter through Amplify.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

Copyright 2014 Thomson Reuters.

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