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The Expanding Web

As technology becomes more and more sophisticated, and new media of information sharing become available, new ways emerge to use the power of the Web.  Integration of the Internet into other forms of media, which also use advertisements to maintain profitability, can open the door to new ways of prioritizing and targeting ads.  There was recently an article published in the New York Times, “Twitter and TV Get Close to Help Each Other Grow”, which describes a recent example of this expansion.

Fox’s new show “X Factor” is asking its viewers to tweet about what they think of the new fall reality show, and will give viewers the option to vote for their favorite contestants.  The logic behind this is that it will help to increase the popularity of the privately owned Twitter and, consequently, to increase its profitability through a topic we have discussed in class: Search Based Advertising.

As is first introduced in the first section chapter fifteen in the course text, “Networks, Crowds, and Markets”, Internet advertising has become inexorably tied into search behavior.  Advertisers know that they pay for ads based upon the probability that potential consumers will stumble upon their ad.  This is often a calculation performed by search engines, like Google, who display advertisements based directly upon what search terms its users enter.

For other media outlets, like TV, which may find it difficult to directly match advertisements to their viewers with such precision as does Google, this technique can become much more difficult.  In order to make this a more exact science, this recent deal between Fox and Twitter can eliminate some of the relative limitations of television advertisements and has the potential to increase revenue for both parties.

The New York Times article presents the deal as more of an opportunity for “the television industry…to retain viewers”, but I believe it goes much deeper than that.  By opening the doors to viewer contribution to the show through the Internet, television networks can much more easily discover what their viewers’ interests are.   No doubt, Fox, and the agencies which advertise on it, will have the capability to observe what else their viewers are doing on Twitter, allowing them, like a search engine, to determine what advertisements will be most effective for those watching certain shows.  This will, thusly, allow them, along with Twitter, to more effectively target their ads, and increase the demand for advertisement slots during commercial breaks, which can then be linked to ads online.

The potential for both parties to benefit and to simultaneously profit off of loyal fans of the TV show and budding Twitter users is enormous.  As consumers, I’m sure that we can expect to see more of these types of collaborative efforts in the future.


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