23rd July 2012  Twitter and NBC team up for Olympics.

The upcoming Olympic Games will act not alone as a test for some of the world's best athletes and sports people but also for one of the internet's biggest social networking sites.


Twitter will come together with Comcast Corp's (CMCSA) NBCUniversal in a partnership that will see Twitter create a dedicated Olympics page for 140 character tweets concerning the games. NBC will promote Twitter with on-air promotions and links to interviews and video footage on the site. NBC has said there will be no exchange of money in the deal and that it won't share in advertising revenue generated by Twitter during the Games.


From this partnership NBC is looking to align itself with a site boasting a user base of over 140 million monthly users. Twitter on the other hand is looking to cement itself as a serious source of serious news and sooth investor worries about the sites ability to make money. eMarketer Inc. estimates Twitter will generate $259.9 million from advertising this year, much less than the $3.15 billion generated by Facebook (FB) in 2011.


During the Olympics, set to open in London this Friday the 27th, the Twitter Olympics page will be used to highlight the views of sports top coaches and pundits as well as encourage users to watch NBC's on-air and online content.


These Games represents one of the first times Twitter has actively taken part in a live event and one of the first times it will attempt to mobilise its user base towards a specific topic. Twitter will hope to prove its worth to other potential broadcasting partners for future events by driving traffic to NBC and by engaging its own users.


The Olympic stadium isn't the only place Twitter will be hoping to see new records set. "Tweets-per-second" have continued to fall in the last few years as the website grows and the current sports related record stands at 15,000 from the final of Euro 2012. Should a major event at the Games overturn this record it can be expected to be touted heavily.


Twitter's involvement in and acceptance by the media has grown steadily over the years. News shows now ask for viewer's opinions through Twitter and quote tweets from celebrity users. To a degree this has meant Twitter has been sidelined by outer media outlets as being a source only of entertainment news and a place for celebrities to go to post banal and trivial statements about themselves. Twitter will be hoping the Olympics will allow them reach and engage with a larger and wider audience through its coverage of an event which will be watched at some point or another by an estimated 4.9 billion people. Sources like Britain's "The Telegraph" have already started to look to Twitter, posting a list of the top tweeters to follow during the games.


The social networking landscape has changed greatly since the last Games in Beijing. mashable's infographic shows that Facebook accounts have grown from 90 to 901 million and tweets per day have jumped from 1.1 to 140 million. Smartphone ownership has jumped from 18.9 to 106 million but most tellingly there are no figures for tablet ownership from 2008; the device didn't exist. There are now more people engaging with social networks and they can engage with them not alone from PC's in the journalist stations but from tablets and mobiles on the track or where crowds have gathered to watch their nation's athletes. Because of these factors the 2012 Olympics should provide a massive boon for social networking sites and media and Twitter will hope to emerge with a new, strengthen image and business model.



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