It's now pretty common for Twitter to explode when something crazy happens on TV—but these TV shows obviously don't have to pay for that publicity. Now, with plans to go public, the social network wants TV to start pushing dollars its way, and is actively trying to convince the networks to give it a slice of the fall shows' budget. To that end, the Wall Street Journal looks at one of the "key ad products" being pushed: Amplify, which lets TV networks post brief, ad-funded clips on the site just moments after they air; the advertising cash is divided between Twitter and the network. A&E and ESPN are among the companies on board.
But can Twitter really boost ratings? An August Nielsen report found that, for 29% of live TV episodes reviewed, "statistically significant" viewership increases occurred after tweet figures increased. But some networks still have questions. "We see a connection between increased Twitter activity and increased ratings," says a CBS exec. "The problem is, we can't tell which is doing which." A Syfy VP sounds more keen: "We will pay to 'trend.'" Meanwhile, Facebook has plans of its own: to give some media groups access to a feed of public posts arranged by topic and demographics—and the offer, at least for the time being, is free.