Twitter is betting big on TV, both as a source of traffic and as a potential source of lucrative advertising revenue. And that’s leading the company to test out new ways of bringing even more TV content — and traffic — to its platform. In the latest move, the company appears to be is testing out a new feature where links to popular TV shows appear as Twitter cards at the top of your Timeline, complete with related Tweet data and show information.
Meanwhile, the cards themselves link through to pages dedicated to the program in question, with more information about the show and related Tweets (images below).
The new feature was brought to our attention by Twitter user ASG, who appears to have been included on a limited test of it. He says he can only see it on his iOS app — not in his desktop view. An interesting choice, given the constraints of the real-estate on a mobile screen (smartphone at least).
“Once you refresh, the trending box shows up,” he tells us. “However, when you start scrolling the box flows down with your timeline. Over time, or when an insane number of tweets come out about the show, the box goes back to the top.” (Image of the floating TV card can be seen here to the right.) He said that he started seeing this yesterday evening and it’s still appearing with new shows this morning.
The click-through feature, meanwhile, provides not only a link with more info about the TV show, but also through to accounts that might be relevant to fans of that show. In the example here, Jimmy Kimmel Live also provides a link to the official account of Jimmy Kimmel himself, as well as a list of tweets related to the show.
We have reached out to Twitter for a response, and while a spokesperson would not comment directly, she did point me to the company’s “innovate through experimentation” philosophy. This approach has brought a lot of different services to Twitter, from the “hover” gesture to reveal retweets and other actions, through to the ability to generate leads for products through tweets via response buttons.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a new window appears at the top of the timeline. Occasionally, you may have noticed a box appear at the top of your Timeline or at the top of your page encouraging you, for example, to link up your Twitter and Facebook accounts to cross-post more easily. Like the Trending TV boxes, you can dismiss them by click on the “X”, but they come back after refreshes.
This particular test comes at an interesting time for Twitter and TV: as the platform continues to grow in popularity as a second-screen companion for viewers to talk about shows they’re watching both in real time and after the fact (how many Tweets have I seen about Breaking Bad in the last several days?), Twitter is ramping up in other ways, too.
And it’s also building out ways of directly monetizing that with advertising (a very important step for the company as it continues to grow up) and linking up with key media players. A Trending TV box could be just one step in linking up that chain even more.