On the eve of its fervently-hyped IPO, the micro-messaging service has a radical plan for nabbing the ad dollars it needs to thrive: helping TV networks survive the digital media revolution. This is the cover story of the October 28, 2013 issue of Forbes.
It’s Emmys night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, and as showtime approaches, a mosh pit of blue-chip television stars jostles backstage. Conan O’Brien and Robin Williams, Alyson Hannigan and Jim Parsons, Jon Hamm and Sarah Silverman, all spiffed-up and squeezing past each other and a few score of other celebrities in the narrow corridor between the producers’ station and the green room. “This can’t be fire safe,” grumbles Hamm, the Mad Men heartthrob, as he shoulders through the throng.
Maybe not, but a team from Twitter faces a more immediate problem. They spent months negotiating with CBS and Emmy executives for access that resulted in a “Twitter Mirror” stationed just outside the green room entrance, steps from the stage. A tricked-out looking glass with an iPad embedded in its surface, it lets honorees and presenters coming offstage snap and broadcast casual self-portraits — “selfies” — to the 246,000 followers of the @cbs and @primetimeemmys accounts.