Social TV Gets Real? Twitter Button Will Change the Channel for You

New Features Meant to Help Close the Gap Between Buzz and Tune-In

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Comcast and Twitter are taking another step meant to help social buzz directly impact TV ratings.

Starting in November, Comcast subscribers will be able to instantly watch and record programming from the company's NBC Universal division using a "See It" button appearing in posts on Twitter.

As part of the deal, NBC Universal is also signing on for Twitter's Amplify program, which delivers sponsored, real-time video clips via tweets. NBC Sports Group will go first, using Amplify to tweet short-form video highlights from its Premier League soccer telecasts, accompanied by pre-roll video ads from General Electric.

Comcast and Twitter are also exploring incorporating more social TV experiences into Comcast's X1 platform, essentially a souped-up cable box that uses cloud computing to offer more services.

But the "See It" button is the flashiest new element, allowing Comcast subscribers who see tweets with that feature to tune their TV set-top boxes to the show being discussed. They can also watch on mobile devices, watch on demand, or set their DVRs to record a future program and schedule a reminder. Subscribers will have to sign into their Comcast accounts.

The "See It" button will be used across NBC Universal's portfolio of cable and broadcast networks, Comcast said, and during its coverage of the Winter Olympics.

There will also be an option to buy movie tickets through Comcast's Fandango.

Twitter has been making a bigger push in TV as it prepares to go public. Earlier in the week it and Nielsen introduced their Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings, reporting that an average of 50 times more people see tweets about TV shows than actually generate the tweets.

But there's been debate about the causation between social buzz and ratings. For Twitter, the "See It" button could be one way to close the gap between chatter and tune-in.

A recent Nielsen study found that increased tweet volume drove up live ratings in 29% of the TV episodes researched in the study. But positive results from the integration with Comcast would put Twitter on more solid ground to win over the skeptics.

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