Sometime in November people who discuss TV shows or movies on Twitter will see a “See It” button. If they click on it, it will give them options to watch the show or, if it’s a current movie, buy a ticket via Comcast-owned Fandango. This will be a national service, but Comcast subscribers will be able to do things via their set-top boxes that others can’t. That includes using a mobile device as a remote control to switch directly to a TV show — something that could be especially useful when there’s breaking news. Comcast Chief Business Development Officer Sam Schwartz tells me that the company is “in advanced conversations” with other cable and satellite companies to include their set-top boxes as well. He adds that while the initiative will begin on Twitter, it could soon include other social network platforms. Initially the “See It” button will appear on tweets that have links to TV shows and movies, but the companies are working to include messages with hashtags about entertainment — and eventually to recognize when the text concerns a TV show or movie.

This could be a coup for Twitter. Last week it kicked off an effort to go public — and crowed in an SEC filing about its value as “a second screen for television programming” adding that ads on Twitter complement “offline advertising campaigns, such as television ads.” On Monday Nielsen formally unveiled its plan to count the number of people who read and write tweets about TV shows, which it says provides valuable information about how a program might perform. The new partnership with Comcast includes an arrangement for NBCUniversal to participate in Twitter’s Amplify program to embed sponsored video clips in tweets. The companies say that they are “exploring additional opportunities to integrate social TV conversations into Comcast’s X1 platform – the company’s entertainment operating system.”

Here’s the release:

PHILADELPHIA, PA and SAN FRANCISCO, CA – October 9, 2013 – Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), NBCUniversal and Twitter today announced a strategic partnership to more directly connect the millions of Twitter users with television viewing. In the first step of the partnership, Comcast engineers created a new feature called “See It” that will give millions of Xfinity TV customers the ability to instantly access TV shows, movies and sports directly from a Tweet. See It will debut in November with shows from NBCUniversal’s networks.

The companies also announced an advertising partnership with NBCUniversal in Twitter’s Amplify program which drives awareness of TV programs by embedding sponsored, real-time video clips in tweets. Comcast and Twitter are also already exploring additional opportunities to integrate social TV conversations into Comcast’s X1 platform – the company’s entertainment operating system.

See It & Twitter

Each day, Twitter plays host to the real-time conversation around the live broadcast of television shows. With See It, Xfinity TV customers who discover new shows and movies in their Twitter feeds will be able to tune-in to those programs with the click of a button. The See It button will enable a menu of consumption options, including being able to:
· tune to live TV or start a show On Demand on their set-top box

· tune in to a show online or on their mobile device

· set DVRs

· set a reminder

· buy theater tickets through Fandango

“See It is a simple yet powerful feature that creates an instant online remote control,” said Brian Roberts, Chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation. “Comcast is taking a leap forward in social TV by enabling Twitter users to more easily find and view the shows they want to watch and discover new shows. Twitter complements the live viewing experience and is an ideal partner for Comcast and NBCUniversal.”

“Twitter is where television viewers come to talk about what they’re watching on TV when they’re watching it. Millions of users are exposed to the live conversation that unfolds on Twitter while a show is on the air and now, with See It, they’ll be able to tune in directly from a Tweet,” said Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter. “It’s a great example of Comcast’s leadership in bringing TV to new platforms.”

This season, NBCUniversal television shows on the following networks will use See It on Twitter: NBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, Oxygen, E!, Esquire Network and The Golf Channel. Shows include: The Voice (NBC), The Blacklist (NBC), Chicago Fire (NBC), The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC), Sunday Night Football (NBC), Access Hollywood, NHL, Premier League Soccer, Sochi Olympics (NBC and NBCSN), Today Show (NBC), Psych (USA) and Suits (USA), among others.

See It Industry Distribution

This new See It feature was designed to integrate with other video distribution partners, television networks and websites. Comcast and Twitter are in discussions with additional distribution partners and television networks that will use this feature to promote their content in the coming months.

Given that Twitter is the center of millions of real-time conversations about television shows, it is the perfect partner to connect those conversations with live television viewing. See It enables networks to make those connections and help convert the millions of TV-related tweets into actual viewing to help drive ratings and engagement with viewers.

NBCUniversal and Twitter Advertising Partnership

NBCUniversal and Twitter also will be working closely together on a new advertising partnership that will enable NBCUniversal’s advertising clients to expand their TV and digital sponsorships to Twitter. Through Twitter’s Amplify program, NBCUniversal’s entire portfolio – two broadcast networks, Spanish and English language, 17 cable networks and more than 50 digital properties – can extend the reach of its advertising campaigns and sponsorships to its audiences on Twitter and drive tune-in to its programming. The agreement also provides NBCUniversal’s advertising clients access to Twitter’s promoted platform.

“NBCUniversal’s content is driving the most popular conversations in social media,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal. “Now with this partnership, our advertisers will be able to reach even more of the specific audiences that they desire.”

NBC Sports Group is the first NBCUniversal property to participate in the new advertising partnership by delivering Premier League short-form video highlights sponsored by General Electric to fans within Twitter’s social framework. The new agreement expands the reach of the sport, while also increasing the consumption of NBC Sports video.

Additionally, E! and USA Network are two of the earliest adopters and today are leading entertainment brands on Twitter. USA Network is putting this partnership to full use as it rolls out its second screen campaign for Modern Family beginning October 18 with its on-air TGIMF (Thank Goodness its Modern Family) Family Friday marathon. E! is working with key advertising partners to amplify their messages and custom content across the brand’s marquee events this holiday season and into the all-important red carpet events in 2014. This expanded functionality combined with the new NBCUniversal Amplify agreement enables USA and E! to reach new audiences in real-time and give brands more innovative ways to reach consumers.