Sohini Sen

TV.NXT 2014: "When Someone Tweets About Your Show, You Have Converted a Viewer into a Marketer": Rishi Jaitly

How the TV industry can use the Twitter phenomena to its advantage.

If we talk about digitisation and look at only one side of the coin, it would be unfair. Because the truth is that marketers, broadcasters and content creators are using social media for all sorts of purposes.

Rishi Jaitly, India market director, Twitter, discussed and explained just how Twitter fits into the whole scheme of the Indian television industry in TV.NXT 2014. Jaitly started his presentation by naming Twitter as the realisation of Gutenberg's dream. According to him, for the first time, we have truly frictionless content consumption capability, as well as content publishing platform.

TV.NXT 2014: "When Someone Tweets About Your Show, You Have Converted a Viewer into a Marketer": Rishi Jaitly

According to Jaitly, both Twitter and television are live, public and conversational. And it is because of this synergy that the two worlds have been able to work together so well. Interestingly, he revealed that the first tweet was sent via sms - and the simplicity of the platform has not changed even now. Jaitly encouraged people to think of Twitter as a mobile microphone of sorts where news and information can be shared.

Today, there are more than a billion tweets every two days, but 40 per cent of Twitter users around the world only consume content. His presentation also revealed that 75 per cent consumed tweet impressions happen within the first one hour of the tweet being published. So, in the live business one shouldn't just ask what the reach of Twitter is, but rather, what is the live reach of Twitter.

He explained this further with the example of the last IPL, where 76 per cent of all tweets were sent during the match. Which means that Twitter is a companion service, co-existing with whatever media is being consumed at the moment. According to their own research, 60 per cent in the UK said that they watch TV while using Twitter, and at the same time globally, 95 per cent of conversation about TV is happening on Twitter.

According to Jaitly, the reason why content on Twitter is more viral is because many of the platform's first users have been opinion makers like journalists. He showed a Nielsen study which tries to understand causality in the country in the context of Twitter and television. This study found that while shows that are popular drive conversations on Twitter, buzz on Twitter also drives up a show's ratings.

Jaitly called Twitter the world's largest couch where one can consume content along with friends, family, celebrities or the whole world. And it is increasingly being felt by broadcasters that investing in Twitter is equal to investing in their own business.

At the same time he suggested that just being on Twitter is not enough. One must invest in the team handling the social media for the company. And this, he felt is sure to bring in results. He used the examples of Anand Mahindra, Sachin Tendulkar, Shahrukh Khan as well as shows like Satyamev Jayate, IPL, Jhalak Dikhla Jaa which had used Twitter to its advantage.

"One must realize that Twitter is where brands talk to brands - like Pepsi and MTV who conceived of their Indies idea on Twitter. At the same time, when someone tweets about your show, you have converted a viewer into a marketer for your show or brand," he explained.

Jaitly explained that the conversation on Twitter is the brand's asset which they must remember. He used the example of India's Got Talent which crowdsourced the lyrics of the theme song through Twitter. Internationally, Oreo used a power blackout to have a conversation with Super Bowl viewers.

Jaitly concluded, "If you think of Twitter as the world's town square, there are a lot of conversations happening. Advertisers and brands want to be a part of that conversation. And we work with these advertisers to give them an enhanced ability to target."

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