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Twitter to Media Companies: We Come in Peace

Twitter VP Katie Jacobs Stanton says Twitter is not a media company, and it is not the competition.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Twitter poses a catch-22 for many media companies. They need the service to broadcast their content to a wide audience, but sharing info for free on Twitter may mean that fewer people actually visit their site.

Why bother turning to ESPN to watch the World Cup when all the highlights and scores have already been tweeted directly into your stream?

Unraveling that dilemma is the job of Katie Jacobs Stanton, a four-year Twitter veteran and current VP of global media. Stanton’s task is to convince media companies around the world that sharing on Twitter is good for business — and that, ultimately, Twitter isn’t the competition.

Stanton spoke at Code/Media: San Francisco on Thursday. Working alongside Twitter is one of the best things media companies can do to boost their audience, she says, and can even buoy company revenues.

“We’re not a media company,” she told Re/code’s Peter Kafka. “We’re a communications platform that helps service the media business.”

In other words: We come in peace.

Stanton says Twitter’s relationship with media companies is win-win. While Twitter is helping media companies grow their audiences, those same companies are helping Twitter grow, too, by offering up their valuable content for free.

One of the most popular verticals for Twitter is television, where the company has numerous partnerships with networks around live events like sports and award shows. There is no doubt people like tweeting during the commercials, but is Twitter actually boosting ratings for networks?

Stanton wouldn’t say, at least not straight out. Twitter has hinted in the past that its service can boost ratings, and it works with Nielsen to provide user data to networks hoping to capture what, exactly, its audience is saying online during the show. “It’s still very early stages,” Stanton says.

Still, if Twitter isn’t boosting ratings, it may actually be stealing eyeballs away from the screen during the one time networks can actually make money: The commercials. Brands are doing something about it by slapping on hashtags within the commercials. Whether you noticed is another matter.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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