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The buzz about Twitter, TV, and Nielsen

What is Twitter for TV ?

Historically, TV viewers have always liked to discuss and debate about TV shows. People always talked about that particular cricket shot, actor, and that movie scene as they watched TV in their drawing rooms. But, the discussion was traditionally limited (geographically) to people inside the room. Twitter for TV allows you to tweet your ‘talk’ as you watch the show and thereby it transforms ‘TV watching’ into a social and an interactive experience.

Twitter arrived at this idea from its past data that TV shows are one of the most tweeted and followed on Twitter. Surely, from Twitter’s point of view the initiative makes a lot of sense. ‘Twitter for TV’ brings social interaction to traditional one-sided TV watching experience. Twitter for TV is in India too and is currently available through Airtel. Globally, Twitter for TV has been a big success from a point of view of the amount of buzz, and experts say that social-tv could be the next big bubble. Currently, Twitter is earning only a few tens of million dollars from the TV association. But certainly, TV is the most exciting space to watch out for as different technologies and companies are converging at this spot in search of the big-ticket revenues.

Video: Exciting data visual of Twitter for TV


What is the value of this ‘Twitter for TV’ Buzz?

It is not very clear how this platform will be used and how this platform will evolve in the future. But, following are some of the key advantages that Twitter for TV brings to table.

1.    The Buzz might bring incremental number of viewers for a TV program

Twitter says that there has been a strong correlation between the increase in the number of live tweets and the increase in the number of viewers for a TV program. Hence, it is partly assumed that there are a set of viewers that are watching the show after looking at the tweets about a show. But, it is yet to be measured to a stage where we can isolate and quantify the number of viewers who switched on the TV (or other devices) after watching the tweet. It will be an extremely powerful data-point for Twitter to understand the impact of this platform.

2.    Broadcasters and TV production houses get real-time feedback about their programs

Broadcasters receive huge real-time data about their content and this helps them to change their content accordingly. But, this is something that is available without this platform too and hence I am not very sure if this is a critical advantage for the broadcasters.

3.    Provides better ad-targeting and drive brand-engagement with targeted TV viewers

As Twitter knows the people tweeting about a TV show, advertisers can use Twitter to:

  • understand the customer intention about products and brands
  • drive engagement with specific target segments during and post the telecast.
  • understand which shows are the target audience interested in, and in turn optimize media plans.

This is where Twitter is making its biggest bet as the next big advertising platform. However, the benefits for marketers using this platform as an engagement driver are not very clear yet. Marketers must develop unique and relevant content to derive value from this platform.

Nielsen caters to the need for a measurement of this platform

The huge buzz created by this platform led to a need to measure the social buzz around TV. The market research leader, Nielsen, launched its first measurement tool – Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings. Currently, the ratings provide the below four metrics for the TV show:

  • Tweets – Number of tweets corresponding to a linear TV episode.
  • Unique Authors – Number of unique twitter accounts that have sent atleast one tweet for the specific episode.
  • Impressions – Number of times any tweets corresponding to a TV episode were seen
  • Unique Audience – Number of distinct twitter accounts accruing atleast one impression of one or more different tweets for a TV episode

Though this initiative may not be a great source of revenue, it is a strategic win-win partnership for both Nielsen and Twitter as Nielsen gains edge on social measurement and Twitter gains the credibility from the TV ratings major.

What’s happening in Online India?

The Nielsen Global Online Shopping Report looks at how consumers shop online: what they intend to buy, how they use various sites, the impact of social media and other factors that come into play when they are trying to decide how to spend their money.

  • More than eight out of ten Indian online consumers plan to shop online in the next twelve months
  • More than a quarter indicate they spend upwards of 11 percent of their monthly shopping expenditure on online purchases
  • 71 percent Indians trust recommendations from family when making an online purchase decision, followed by recommendations from friends at 64 percent and online product reviews at 29 percent
  • Half the Indian consumers (50%) use social media sites to help them make online purchase decisions.
  • Online reviews and opinions are most important for Indians when buying Consumer Electronics (57%), Software (50%), and a Car (47%).
  • More than four in ten Indians are more likely to share (post a review/ Tweet/ review) a negative product or service experience online than they were to share a positive experience
  • In the next six months Indians are most likely to buy Books (41%), Airline ticket/reservations (40%), and Electronic equipment like TV, Camera, etc. (36%) online
  • When shopping online, one third of Indians (33%) purchase most frequently from websites which allow them to select products from many different stores.
Google India‘s Managing Director – Rajan Anandan gave a keynote speech at NASSCOM Social Media Summit in Delhi on 29th April, 2011. Following are some of the videos from the summit:

Bettering a billion lives, India’s Unique ID System

Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, Nandan Nilekani, said over a third of India’s 1.1 billion consumers had been largely overlooked in areas such as banking and social services.

Speaking to business leaders gathered at The Nielsen Company’s Consumer 360 event in New Delhi, Nilekani said this had come about in part because there had been no effective way of reaching India’s poor.

“The poor remain a difficult to reach market. Their anonymity limits agencies from providing them services that are remotely available, and that could be accessed through a mobile phone. The absence of a universal, easy to verify identity system also prevents agencies from scaling towards national-level, more open systems where the poor can access services seamlessly, wherever they migrate.

“The services the poor can access as a result – the doors through which they can pass – are far fewer. They cannot easily open a bank account, possess insurance, or order services through a mobile phone,” Nilekani told those gathered for his keynote speech at the conference.
“The (unique identification) number will create a much more open marketplace, where hundreds of millions of people who were shut out of services will now be able to access them. “ He said only about a quarter India’s population had a bank account.

“The common man in India has long been a bystander, a spectator to the trends of consumption. With growth however, we’ve seen the Bottom of the Pyramid market take off – a class of the ‘individually poor but the collectively rich’, who now account for over one third of our consumption. “
He went on to outline four key shifts taking place in India with regard to consumers:

  1. A demographic disruption taking place in India with an expected 11 million new people joining the workforce every year for the next five years. “India is a young country in an ageing world.”
  2. Mass migration to cities. The urban population is expected to grow by 31 people every minute on average many years.
  3. Low cost mobile phones mean all social sets have access to the same or similar content.
  4. Indians are increasingly impatient with failing systems. As a consequence, service providers are responding more rapidly than ever.

Nilekani said these four broad trends heralded the rise of a new kind of consumer in India. “The Indian consumer today, no matter their income class, is highly aspirational, mobile, comfortable with technologies such as mobile phones, and eager for choices in faster, more accessible services.”

“This shift in attitudes is creating new urgencies for our services and infrastructure. And we are indeed seeing the emergence of solutions that respond to these forces,” he said.