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Twitter seeks television partnerships

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 April, 2013, 4:56am

Twitter is close to reaching partnerships with television networks that would bring more high-quality video content and advertising to the site.

The San Francisco-based company has held talks with Viacom about hosting TV clips on its site and selling adverts, according to people familiar with the private talks on the matter. Twitter has discussed a content partnership with Comcast's NBCUniversal, said two of the people.

Twitter, which began in 2006 as a service for 140-character status updates, is racing to add video content that will get users to spend more time on the site and watch promotions. Building on its existing partnerships with Walt Disney's ESPN, Weather Channel and Turner Broadcasting System, Twitter is apparently seeking to add more entertainment and news video.

The partnerships would let Twitter stream videos on its site and split the resulting ad revenue with the networks, said one of the sources. One or more deals could be reached by mid-May, and Twitter may strike deals with other networks, the person said.

Gabriel Stricker, a spokesman for Twitter, declined to comment, as did Mark Jafar, a spokesman for Viacom. Cameron Blanchard, a spokeswoman for NBC, did not respond to a request for comment.

Last June, a third of active Twitter users posted on the site about something they watched on TV, up from 26 per cent at the beginning of the year, Nielsen Holdings said in a report on social media last year. Twitter and Nielsen have agreed to form a partnership to measure the amount of online discussion being generated by TV programmes.

In February, Twitter also bought Bluefin Labs, a Massachusetts-based startup which makes software that lets advertisers, agencies and networks monitor and analyse social- media comments about TV shows and commercials.

Peter Chernin, a former News Corp president, last November joined Twitter's board to help it navigate the media industry, chief executive Dick Costolo said.

Last year, Twitter teamed up with NBC to promote use of the social site among audiences of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Twitter tracked more than 150 million Twitter posts about the games over the course of the 16-day event, it said on its blog.

The TV push coincides with the Twitter's expansion into music. The company is planning to release a mobile application that lets users stream and share music with others on the social site.

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