Twitter Generates $48 Million of Media Coverage in a Month

But Can It Maintain Its Sizzle?

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Twitter's been the toast of TV news programs, daytime talk shows, magazine editors and newspaper reporters. But what's all that chatter worth?

According to news-monitoring service VMS, a cool $48 million over the past 30 days. (That's half of what Microsoft plans to spend marketing its biggest product launch of the year, Bing.)

Twitter received almost 3 billion impressions -- 2.73 billion, to be exact -- in the past month, a time period that doesn't even include the frenzied weeks in April in which Oprah and Ellen weighed in on the micro-blogging service. TV contributed to 57% of the PR value, newspapers 37% and magazines 5%. Incidentally, Fox News bested CNN in terms of total PR value delivered by its Twitter mentions, although CNN dropped the name more often.

In reality, said VMS CEO Peter Wengryn, the number of impressions over the past 30 days could be as much as double that, considering the company doesn't measure mentions in all the smaller newspapers around the country.

"This is huge. It's very, very high," said Gary Getto, VP-integrated media intelligence at VMS. "In fact, we looked at online coverage of Twitter vs. Google. Twitter is running significantly higher than Google and I didn't think anything was more popular than Google."

In contrast, the media value of the coverage given to Microsoft's Bing was just $573,834, and the reach of its free media came in at just 63 million impressions.

Twitter's unique visitors in June totaled almost 21 million as it grew 14% over May traffic. In May it grew 7%, a slowdown from the furious growth the site experienced in January through April, according to Nielsen Online.

Twitter does seem to have more sizzle in the press than it does in real life. Whether or not it can maintain the level of media buzz that helped turn it into a mainstream term is unclear. History portends that hot social-media properties, once the darlings of talking heads everywhere, tend to level off.

"As we source some of the other phrases like LinkedIn and Facebook, they were hot and the 'in' thing at the time and certainly they don't have the same sizzle they did today as they did in the first two or three months," said Mr. Wengryn. "Twitter seems to have a higher sizzle today than any of its peers. But for long term, we don't know if this will be sustainable or whether there will be another that comes to displace it."

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