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Twitter and TV Working Just Fine, Says Twitter

The Emperor totally has clothes, says Dick Costolo.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Yesterday, after a top TV executive lobbed a bomb at Twitter’s TV pitch, Twitter executives kept quiet.

But Twitter CEO Dick Costolo knew he’d get asked about NBC* research chief Alan Wurtzel’s “Emperor has no clothes” comments today during his earnings call. So he mounted a defense: Twitter absolutely helps TV, he told analysts.

Here’s his response:

“Our Twitter and TV strategy, and our investment into that thesis, was very much based on data that we saw informing the two-way complementary relationship between Twitter and TV.

“As that strategy has evolved, and we’ve continued to invest in it, there is a host, and a continuing emergence, of independent, third-party rigorous research that validates our belief in that investment thesis and strategy.

Fox research has produced research that shows 92 percent of Twitter users have taken immediately some action like either tuning into the TV show, or searching for the TV show after seeing a tweet about the show. Symphony Advanced Media highlighted that using Twitter while watching TV decreases an audience member’s likelihood to change the channel. And then Nielsen found a causal relationship between Twitter activity and tune-in. Further, there were only three things that correlated with TV ratings in that study: Prior seasons’ ratings for the show, ad spend for the show, and Twitter activity.

“So all of that tells us, in addition to I would say, the growing number of content providers and broadcasters participating in our Amplify program, that our Twitter and TV strategy is on the right track.”

*NBCUniversal is an investor in Revere Digital, the parent company of Re/code.

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