Twitter Strikes Online TV Partnership With Comcast

Twitter plans online TV deal with Comcast ahead of possible Nov. 15 IPO.

A smartphone display shows the Twitter logo in Berlin, Germany.
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Comcast subscribers will be able to watch TV shows on Twitter starting in November, as the micro-blog expands its promotion and advertising relationships with broadcasters ahead of its debut as a public company.

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NBCUniversal and its parent company Comcast announced on Wednesday that the "first step" of a new advertising partnership will be the launch of a new Twitter feature called "See It, " which will allow subscribers of Comcast's Xfinity TV to access TV shows and movies, record shows on DVRs, and buy theater tickets via the microblog website. The "See It" button will become available in November, which could also be the month for Twitter's initial public offering.

Twitter's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicate that the company will stage its IPO on Nov. 15, according to an analysis reported on Wednesday from financial intelligence company PrivCo. Twitter made public its filings with the SEC on Oct. 3.

Updates to Twitter's S-1 state that employees can begin to sell company stock beginning Feb. 15, 2014, which indicates to PrivCo that the IPO will be 90 days before that date because that is typically the waiting period for employees to sell restricted stock after an IPO.

"PrivCo sources – confirmed by the US JOBS ACT regulatory timetable for IPO dates following the first non-confidential public S-1 release - indicate that as of mid-July, they intended to go public 3 months prior to February 15," PrivCo explained in its report. "This suggests that Twitter has set a November 15 target as its IPO date."

Twitter has been searching for new revenue sources and business methods to reassure shareholders of the company's value, and striking a high-profile TV promotion deal with Comcast is one such step toward making the platform more attractive for advertisers.

[ALSO: Twitter Shows Growth, Need for Ad Revenue]

"'See It' is a simple yet powerful feature that creates an instant online remote control," said Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast. "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 has grown into a real-time blog for people to live tweet about speeches and protests, but also season finales of popular shows or major sporting events. Companies are already designing advertisements exclusively for Twitter to coincide with TV shows, so this promotion deal with Comcast could boost that. Custom tweets include an Oreo ad created for Twitter that read "you can still dunk in the dark," which was published shortly after a power outage at Super Bowl XLVII in February.

"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 of Twitter. "It's a great example of Comcast's leadership in bringing TV to new platforms."

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