Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (TWTR) are both part of a behavioral revolution that will likely change television watching forever. BMO Capital Markets analysts Daniel Salmon, Ygal Arounian and Nirav Modi hosted a social TV roundtable recently and discussed these changes with experts in the social media and television industries. What they found is that rather than being competitors, Facebook and Twitter are turning out to be complementary to television—both to themselves and to TV itself.
Facebook, Twitter and TV viewing habits
The analysts report that second screen viewing is evolving from using a laptop for following along with fantasy sports while watching a game to a family watching a TV show and each using their own personal device. They found that 85 percent of TV users have some kind of second screen device. About 55 million to 60 million people actually use their tablet or phone while watching television every day. They’re using second screen apps to look up relevant content and visiting social networks like Facebook and Twitter to talk about their favorite shows.
They said the social TV revolution isn’t about pitting social networks against television, but rather, finding a way to complement them, just as Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter Inc (TWTR) are both already doing.
How Twitter and Facebook are different
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) have long been considered competitors in the social network sphere, but in reality, they are so different. The BMO analysts said Twitter Inc (TWTR)’s main features are “real-time functionality” and “open infrastructure” which allows users to see tweets from everyone instead of just family and friends.
They said TV discussion on Twitter focuses mainly around live television with conversations spiking before a program, peaking during it and then dying down after. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), however, relies on long-term discussions. The analysts said while most people look to Twitter Inc (TWTR) before and during a show, they tend to look to Facebook after it’s over to see what their friends are saying about it and have longer conversations while interacting with additional features like bonus clips from their favorite shows.
Twitter wakes up Facebook
The analysts said when Twitter came along, it “woke up a sleeping giant in Facebook” by moving toward becoming a place for live TV conversation. Not to be outdone though, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stepped up the dialogue on how it offers data to television networks so that they can better understand their audience.
Late last month, the company said it would begin sharing chatter data with the four major U.S. networks regarding their own programs. The data includes social actions, including shares, comments and likes. The social network is collecting the data anonymously and showing it to the networks in aggregate. The company also said last week that it is moving this feature into the European market as wellby offering data with 10 networks in eight countries.
Twitter not slowing down
To its own credit, Twitter Inc (TWTR) isn’t slowing down either. Last week it partnered with Comcast for the launch of the “See It” button. This enables users of Comcast Xfinity to get instant access to TV shows, sports, and movies right from a tweet. This enables users to click on the button to either tune their television to the live program or begin a show on demand. The shows can be streamed on the users’ mobile devices, or a DVR can be programmed to record the show.