The online button is a manifestation of a Comcast project called See It that involves a partnership between the three companies to integrate online social interaction into the TV viewing experience. It also reflects a broad effort by technology companies to mingle TV with mobile devices and the Internet.
In addition, the deal establishes an advertising partnership between NBCUniversal and Twitter at a rather opportune moment: Twitter has filed to launch an initial public offering and potential investors are likely to appreciate the revenue implications.
Tweets about TV content have been growing fast enough to convince Nielsen to begin tracking Twitter conversations about TV. Metrics service SocialGuide claims that 19 million individuals in the U.S. sent 263 million tweets about live TV in the second quarter of 2013, a 24% year-over-year increase in participation and a 38% increase in tweet volume.
[ Learn more about Twitter's initial public offering. Read Twitter IPO: 6 Interesting Facts. ]
The partnership between Comcast, NBCUniversal and Twitter presents an opportunity to turn online conversations into valuable data, engagement and viewers.
"By partnering with Comcast, we'll be able to make it easier than ever to turn on the show everyone is talking about and jump into the conversation," said Jana Messerschmidt, VP of business development and platform at Twitter, in a blog post.
In so doing, social media becomes indistinguishable from commercial media.
"See It will be integrated into a show's tweet, so that with the click of a button, I can change the channel on my TV right away, record it or even watch on my mobile device," explained Sam Schwartz, Comcast's chief business development officer, in a blog post.
NBCUniversal says it plans to offer See It in tweets related to the following shows: The Voice, The Blacklist, Chicago Fire, The Michael J. Fox Show, Sunday Night Football, Access Hollywood, NHL, Premier League Soccer, Sochi Olympics, Today Show, Psych and Suits, among others.
Although See It will be available only to Xfinity TV subscribers when it debuts in November, Comcast and Twitter say that they're discussing possible relationships with other video distribution partners and television networks.