Twitter has quietly launched a new mode of discovery and an updated page for viewing tweets related to television shows, just in time for the fall TV season. The experiment is part of flurry of features Twitter has introduced over the past few months to boost engagement and improve on the second-screen experience of watching TV.
The fall's most-watched television programs, including CW's "Gotham" and ABC's "How To Get Away With Murder," are among the participating shows in the new discovery and search feature. On Twitter's main feed, users may see a "See More" button below a tweet promoted by a television show. When clicking on that button, users will be directed to a special page for the show that now has tabs for "Tweets," "Cast" and "Media."
Twitter also has started creating custom emoji for TV shows, another treat for fans tweeting about TV. "Emojis have been a hit on Twitter for many occasions, and they now have reached the TV community in celebration of Fall TV," a Twitter representative wrote in an email.
— Empire (@EmpireFOX) September 23, 2015
Twitter has long experimented with curated content around television. Previously, users relied on lists and top tweets, but could often miss interesting content that could provide exclusive information from the stars of a show. That's more reason to not only watch the show but also a Twitter feed.
Users already get notifications for television shows airing the same night, and there have been specific, curated TV timelines. When that update was introduced in March 2015, users could access sections for "Highlights," "Media" and "All." The introduction of pulling tweets from the show's cast brings more celebrity voices and engagement in the show. The "Cast" page also pulls from writers, producers and directors.
A Nielsen study found that about 15 percent of TV viewers enjoy the experience more when there is a social media element. As television viewing has been falling -- with users devoting more hours of their day to smartphones and less to TV -- alongside Twitter struggling to impress Wall Street, attract new users and find a new CEO, both platforms are working together to encourage viewers to watch and participate in live television.
Now stop tweeting and pay attention. I warned you. #HTGAWM
— Pete Nowalk (@petenowalk) September 25, 2015
Beyond the curated TV timeline, Twitter has also been creating more custom emoji for television shows. These emoji appear when Twitter users type in certain hashtags. For example, ahead of the season premiere of Fox’s “Empire,” Twitter and Fox in partnership launched a custom emoji that appeared with users tweeted #Empire or #EmpireSeason2.
“Fall premieres, which take place this week, are a big event for TV fans on Twitter. Fans are already expressing their excitement and have sent 21 million Tweets in advance of the debuts, up 34 percent from 2014,” a Twitter representative wrote in an email.
And it had an effect, at least in part. The season premiere of “Empire” was the most-tweeted one-hour scripted program on television, according to Nielsen data from October 2011 to Wednesday. About 296,500 people sent 1.3 million tweets about the premiere, according to Twitter. That’s out of Twitter’s active user base of about 330 million. Twitter reports that about 4.7 million people viewed the tweets. About 16.2 million viewers watched the premiere, according to Nielsen.
No money changes hands in these TV partnerships, but Twitter just began experimenting with paid ad emoji. Last week, Twitter created an emoji of two glass bottles clinking for Coca-Cola that appeared with the tweet #ShareACoke. Twitter declined to disclose details about the pricing.