Thinking Social / Value

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Twitter and the Monetization of the Second Screen

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Twitter’s been buying again…

According to sources, Twitter just bought US-based social TV analytics firm, Bluefin Labs. While the actual number is still an “undisclosed figure,” early reports state that this is Twitter’s “biggest acquisition to date.”

A few things:

1. This is REALLY interesting

Twitter and TV is clearly HUGE. During the panel I was on at Social TV Conference London recently I remember saying something along the lines of, “Let’s just be honest: second screen engagement is basically Twitter; we shouldn’t kid ourselves about that.”

I was being deliberately forthright but, looking back on it now, I don’t think I was too far off the map.

2. Is this Twitter buying *outside* of their ‘API quadrant’?

Last summer, much noise was made about Twitter’s changes to their API. However what made it ultimately clear to everyone on what (and what was not) fair game was this one simple chart -

At the time, Twitter made it very clear that they were encouraging developers to no longer create apps that existed in the upper-right quadrant. In fact, they went so far as to call out the guys they thought were doing a great job in the other areas – stand up Klout, Radian6, and Storify.

However, with this acquisition, Twitter is now parking their tanks on the lawns of many many TV analytics firms out there today, and who can blame them?

My point is: Twitter is moving the goal posts again. To wit:

“You can develop on our API but as soon as there’s serious money to be made… we’ll have our ball back please.”

3. Monetizing the second screen might just be the next big thing

This is hardly news but, after the massive success of Twitter at the Superbowl this past weekend (earning mentions in 50% of all advertising)… hang on, before we go any further, here’s more analysis:

  • $3,800,000 / 30secs = $126,666.66 per second
  • Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that those ads ran those hashtags for 2-3seconds (it’s probably more, so let’s shoot for the top end of that spectrum)
  • 3 secs x 26 ads = 78 seconds
  • 78 x $126,666.66 = $9,879,999.48

Which means that during Superbowl 2013, Twitter scored just shy of 9.9 million dollars of EARNED ADVERTISING.

Wow.

Sorry, where was I?

Oh yes, brands are on the Twitter train (for second screen activity) and the great ones are killing it. How long will it be until others catch on? 5, 4, 3…

4. Bluefin now, Second Sync next?

From what I can tell, Bluefin is US only. Which is great, and an obvious win for that team (second screening in the US is the most advanced and widely accepted). However the immediate question is: what’s next for the rest of the world’s TV social analytics market?

The smart money would be on the UK’s Second Sync being next. At a recent London Twitter event, #PoweredByTweets, Second Sync data was present in nearly every presentation – and Twitter were happy to say so too. They clearly do the best job, they’ve clearly been anointed as the chosen ones in this particular region, so are they clearly next in line for aquisition? Place your bets now please…

5. Social TV + The Future

It now goes without saying that 2013 really will be the year of Social TV. There will be a lot of snake oil salesmen out there and separating the wheat from the chaff will certainly make for interesting viewing indeed.

Bring it on, creatives of 2013, let’s see what you’ve got.