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@ pcE11: Measuring The Twitter Effect On TV Viewing And Programming Choices

It’s a wild world these days at the intersection of traditional television business models and all the new ways that people are consuming content online and across different devices. Panelists at paidContent Entertainment 2011 grappled with the implications of that shift by emphasizing the need for quality: quality metrics, quality marketing strategies, and, of course, quality shows.

Technologies like Twitter have changed the way that the television business thinks about live event programming, said Morgan Wandell, executive producer for ABC (NYSE: DIS) Studios. “There’s a social phenomenon around television driving viewers to want to watch the shows live so they don’t miss things or have spoiler implications if they waited two days to watch the show.” He cited the X-Factor (U.S.) as an example: the show allowed viewers to vote for their favorite performer via Twitter direct message, and they saw 3,000 tweets a minute.

But this really only works for a few big shows, said Christy Tanner, general manager and executive vice president for TV Guide Digital: most people aren’t going to be disappointed if the next episode of Ice Road Truckers is spoiled by those watching it live. “What that means is we have a very challenging environment to create mass events that scale, particularly live mass events at scale,” she said.

Those types of events don’t come along very often and are tricky to pull off in the U.S., spread out across three time zones. But the unique nature of these events, often consumed with a mobile device in hand, allow advertisers to reach a bigger audience because they create complementary opportunities for advertising, said Steven Treinen, vice president of advertising sales and marketing solutions for Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) Digital Entertainment.

And they also present both a challenge and opportunity for those who can provide the most massive metrics as to how people are engaging with content on other devices and through media like Twitter, said Gregory Markel, founder and president of Infuse Creative.

“There is a massive amount of fraud in third-party advertising options for content owners,” Markel said. Companies like Google (NSDQ: GOOG), who has done a pretty good job eliminating fraud from their search advertising business, have a chance to capture more business in this space if they can draw viewers to things like Google TV and the newly launched YouTube Channels.