Byravee Iyer
Nov 22, 2013

Twitter’s future has deep ties to television: Shailesh Rao

ASIA-PACIFIC - Even as digital marketing platforms sound the death knell for television, Twitter sees value in integrating the two mediums, Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s VP for APAC, Latin America and emerging markets, said at an event the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) hosted yesterday.

Ninety-five percent of live-TV conversation happens on Twitter
Ninety-five percent of live-TV conversation happens on Twitter

“Twitter has a symbiotic relationship with television, and credit goes to the founders for identifying the specific nature of the platform,” Rao stressed.

TV shows over the past few years have been the source of massive chatter on social media, especially Twitter. Rao said all that banter has driven an increase in TV’s viewership and reach. The company’s TV-ad targeting product, which debuted earlier this year in the US, gives marketers a way to engage directly with followers on the social network who have likely seen a brand’s television ad.

According to Twitter’s corporate blog, last year, 32 million people in the US tweeted about TV programming. People tweet so much about it that the company recently launched ratings in conjunction with Nielsen, which measures the number of times audiences actually see specific Tweets about a television episode.

Rao made his pitch to a roomful of advertisers and digital media experts. He underscored the importance of live events via Twitter’s Amplify Service, a tool that takes real-time videos onto the site and has already signed on a host of partners including BBC, Fox and NBC Universal. In Asia, the service, which launched in May, has picked up partnerships in Japan and Australia.

A question-and-answer session that Ken Mandel, IAB chairman emeritus and MD of HootSuite Asia Pacific, hosted after Rao spoke, addressed some of Twitter’s expansion plans for the region.

In markets where Twitter sees strong user growth, it has invested in people and resources and in countries where it isn’t seeing as much monetization, the company is establishing partnerships. Twitter’s Komli Media partnership in Southeast Asia, to bring the network’s Promoted Products to marketers in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, is a case in point. Finally, in markets where Twitter has yet to pick up, Rao said it was doing a lot of work around localisation and education.

At present, Twitter’s biggest markets are the US, UK, Japan, Indonesia and Brazil.  


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