Twitter is Testing a TV Trending Box: Will Users' Twitter Streams Make Their Smartphones an Even Smarter Second Screen For Discovering, Interacting With and Sharing All Kinds of Films?

An August 14th, 2013 post to techcrunch is big news for network TV sponsors - but it may also represent an exciting development for indie filmmakers (even microbudget storytellers).

As illustrated in the image above (provided to techcrunch by Twitter beta-tester ASG?) Twitter is testing a new trending app "where links to popular TV shows appear as Twitter cards at the top of your Timeline."

The app apparently includes a click-through feature that offers a link to more info about the TV show as well as to accounts that might be relevant to fans of that show.  For example, the card for Jimmy Kimmel Live provides data about the show as well as "a link to the official account of Jimmy Kimmel himself, as well as a list of tweets related to the show."

Why might this kind of expansion to Twitter's functionality be of interest to non-network filmmakers?

Here's how Ingrid Lunden summed it up in techcrunch:

"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."

In other words, as social sharing and user recommendations play a growing role in how users discover and engage with motion pictures, Twitter is becoming an increasingly important tool for filmmakers and sponsors of all kinds.

The big networks are already becoming heavy users of Twitter:

Everyone is familiar with shows that ask users to vote on Twitter about outcomes: Like the Idol, Got Talent and Dancing With The Stars franchises.

And most users are aware of the hashtags that appear on many TV shows - encouraging users to chat about these network shows (in ways that sponsors can measure in real time) on their second screens.

As Ingrid Lunden notes: "[Twitter is] using some of its big-data, analytical muscle along with partnerships to crunch numbers and demonstrate to the media industry that there is a correlation between Twitter and TV. 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."

But indie filmmakers and New World storytellers (especially those of us excited about interactivity and multiplatform work) should also be paying close attention to experiments like this one - where users are provided new apps for digging into favorite storyworlds.

The networks and Twitter are getting big advertisers to pay for this evolution in technology and storytelling.

OK.  That's great.

As an advocate for indie filmmakers, I'm betting that, just as the Old World tools for filmmaking and film circulation (that used to be so expensive) have become democratized,  New World tools (tools that expand interactivity and the monetization of storytelling) will soon become affordable and available to microbudget storytellers too.

What would you do with more information about users, how they're engaging with your story and what they are sharing?

Thanks to Jon Reiss for the link.

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