Twitter CEO Dick Costolo defends TV strategy

Dick Costolo

Dick Costolo

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has defended the firm’s investment in its social TV strategy, against recent claims by NBCU executive Alan Wurtzel that social media is not impacting on TV ratings.

On the company’s first quarter earnings call this week, Costolo said that there was “a host [of] and a continuing emergence of independent third-party rigorous research” that validates its belief that there is a “two-way complementary relationship between Twitter and TV.”

“Fox Research has produced research that shows 92% 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 use of 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,” said Costolo.

“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.”

The comments follow a Financial Times interview last week with NBCUniversal’s head of research Alan Wurtzel, who claimed social media “is not a game changer yet” when it came to influencing television viewing.

Citing viewership of the Winter Olympics, Wurtzel claimed that, against expectations, social media did not have a major effect on games viewership and that instead TV ratings were more likely to drive social conversations.

He said that “it just isn’t true” that social media is a “potent new way” to drive ratings. “I am saying the emperor wears no clothes. It is what it is,” he told the paper.

Tags: Twitter, US