Media agency executives have made it clear: Buying media -- specifically digital video -- in a vacuum isn't going to cut it. There must be a link -- a strong link -- to traditional TV platforms.
Recently Twitter moved into the effort with deals with A+E, ESPN, and Turner Sports that would promote TV content with short-form six-second videos attached to the tweet conversations. The company announced the launch of new television ad-targeting partnerships under Twitter's new Amplify initiative to allow marketers to engage directly with people on Twitter who have watched their commercials on TV.
Yes, digital versus TV is not an either-or position. Three big media, network-owned companies already glean dollars from digital dollars from Hulu. But recent major efforts have been made with those more "engaged" social media aficionados, who watch TV and talk about it.
The downside? Twitter has some 32 million people who have tweeted something in 2012. But that is a fraction of the potential 294 million TV viewers out there -- and not even a representative sample of that TV audience.
In selling these video-attached tweets to advertisers Twitter will share its wealth with the content owners of that video and the TV distributor (network, station, cable operator or otherwise).
Twitter already has partnerships with ESPN, Turner Sports and the NBA to distribute video clips. New partners include A+E, Clear Channel, Conde Nast, Vevo, Major League Baseball, WWE, Vice and others.
Twitter uses semantic technology to match conversation on Twitter with specific shows on TV -- say, an NBA game on TNT. All of which means that Twitter could sell to TV advertisers that tweet -- perhaps the same advertisers that bought into NBA games on TNT.
Pretty much a win-win-win for everyone here: Twitter, TNT, and the NBA each get a piece.
At an OMMA event last week Chris Raleigh, senior vp of cable and cross-platform ad sales for The Weather Channel, said those NewFronts presentations in large part didn't get this point -- that there must be a strong connection with what they are selling with that in traditional TV land, that being where the current large-media scale lies. The CW has been doing this for years successfully.
"Our perspective is everybody in digital has it wrong; they have been going to market with an either-or proposition," Twitter global head of revenue Adam Bain told Advertising Age.
Years ago, many believed that traditional broadcast networks would package deals with cable networks they owned, but that has not really worked out. But somehow a more complementary traditional TV-new digital video/social media deal might make more sense.