Orange, which runs TV services in France, Spain and Poland, to offer tweet-as-you-watch service and integrated mobile features
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 17 November 2009 07.23 GMT
Twitter users will soon be able to tweet to each other via their TV sets while watching entertainment and sports shows, after Orange struck a deal to integrate the service into its mobile and television offerings.
Orange, which is owned by the telecommunications giant France Telecom, runs TV services in France, Spain and Poland and mobile and internet services internationally, including in the UK.
Under the deal, Orange is aiming to integrate Twitter into football coverage, news, entertainment shows and films.
Twitter, which like Google is a brand that has been built with little or no traditional advertising, will also begin to appear in ad campaigns run by Orange.
Orange said that Twitter services would be rolled out in the UK first, to be followed by France, Spain and Poland later this year. The service will be rolled out in other European markets next year.
« In countries where we have TV services we plan to enrich shows by allowing people to tweet while they watch their favourite programmes, » said Stephanie Hospital, director of development and partnerships at Orange.
In the UK, a market where Orange has investigated launching TV services, the company claimed that it will be the first telecoms operator to allow mobile users to upload and share photos on Twitter.
Until now Twitter users have only been able to send and receive tweets from their online account or by text message.
The key to the deal, said Orange, is that Twitter will become completely integrated with the suite of digital media services available via its mobile portal.
In the UK, Orange’s social media service, called Social Life, allows users easy access to a one stop shop of social media websites including Facebook, MySpace and Bebo.
Twitter fans will not have to go through a mobile application and then have to access their Twitter homepage every time they want to check an update.
« By integrating Twitter into our various mobile and internet services we are making it a greater part of people’s every day lives, » said Paul Francois Fournier, executive vice president at Orange.
Orange said that paying for mobile Twitter use would come out of mobile phone customers’ existing packages. In order to make sure that users with many « followers » do not exhaust their mobile package allowances rapidly controls have been put in place.
Hospital said that mobile Twitter users will have to set a limit in advance on the number of tweets they want to receive each day and also the number of people they are « following » that they want to receive updates from.
She added that while the new service would be available to all Orange customers, the company intended to push it more heavily to those with its Dolphin package, which is tailored towards multimedia phone users.