Large media companies are already using Twitter to alert people to breaking news and new features. CNN, TIME, the New York Times, the BBC, the London Guardian and Good Morning America are among the most widely followed media on Twitter. CNN ranks third among all the people or companies who use Twitter, with over 1.5 million followers. The traditional media are setting up systems to more tightly tie their audiences to them with the use of social networks. Twitter has the opportunity to become a distribution method for premium content.
Tweets can contain short URLs that transmit print content, video and audio files. Movie trailers can be tweeted to hundreds of thousands of people within a short period of time. The same is true for audio content and links to articles. Video-aggregation sites like YouTube and Hulu will have completely new ways for Twitter users to distribute links to their content. Media companies will have the opportunity to send their Twitter followers summaries of daily news with links to articles or videos. CNN has already begun to take advantages of this, distributing a number of breaking-news links each day to its followers. That gives CNN an advantage over other news services like MSNBC.
News media with the largest and most comprehensive lists of Twitter followers will begin to have distribution channels that are not available to many other media. If Twitter grows to 100 million or 200 million users, major media could have Twitter followers in the millions, matching the size of all their other delivery channels combined.
Douglas A. McIntyre