Live tweets on TV: Twitter arrives on screens in India with new partnership

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Technology and platform convergence is the next big thing that businesses are looking for — whether it be mobile and internet or internet and TV. It’s all about a revenue stream for the future.

Airtel Digital TV, an arm of Indian telco Bharti Airtel, revealed yesterday that it has integrated Twitter with its digital TV offerings for the first time. With this new form of convergence, users can actually tweet while watching TV and can view public tweets related to their TV shows on the screen as well. It launches today at no extra charge to subscribers.

Jana Messerschmidt, Twitter’s VP of business development and platforms, said, “Twitter is public, real time and conversational, which makes it a perfect companion to television viewing. We are excited to see partners like Airtel innovating with our platform and helping their audience connect with the TV programs they love.”

There are an estimated 15-million Twitter users in India.

Airtel’s Twitter know-how actually comes from Bangalore-based startup Brizz TV, which works in the areas of TV technology and is powering this new service for Airtel Digital TV. To start watching-‘n’-tweeting, subscribers just have to click their remote’s green button. Initially, the service will be available on select TV channels, but more will be added.

Airtel Digital TV has 373 channels including 17 HD and five interactive channels. It claimed to have 8.5-million subscribers at the end of June 2013.

Although Airtel hasn’t disclosed the business model of this partnership with Twitter, it’s fairly safe to assume that the telco will stream targeted Twitter ads and marketing promotions to its TV subscribers. Airtel could also use this to better promote its other internet services. Since the voice and SMS business is no longer the prime revenue generator in India, it is forcing telcos to innovate and develop new ways to get income.


This article by Pankaj Maru originally appeared on Tech in Asia, a Burn Media publishing partner.

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