Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Howard Stern and Twitter Just Made Me Watch “Private Parts” Again

“Private Parts” is a 1997 movie that most Howard Stern fans have a hazy fondness for and everyone else ignores. So why is the movie’s title now trending on Twitter?

Because Stern has spent the afternoon delivering a scene-by-scene, Tweet-by-Tweet, DVD-style commentary while the movie has been playing on Time Warner’s HBO. It’s an incredibly simple idea, and a surprisingly compelling one: I gave in about 30 minutes ago and have had a hard time doing anything else since.

And while the movie will have ended by the time you read this, my hunch is you’ll be hearing about it for some time.

That’s because the idea of using Twitter to augment TV–particularly live TV–is something that Twitter’s executives have been actively promoting for some time now. Both because people are already doing it on their own, and because they think it will help them capture some of the huge TV ad marketplace, which still dwarves online.

“It’s taken the DVR out of the equation again,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said last month. “People feel like they have to watch the show, while it’s going on.”

And Twitter ad sales boss Adam Bain used today’s (spontaneous?) Stern seminar to expand on that message, and  hand out instructions to the TV business.

And I think he’s sort of right. I’m very happy to Twitter away, and read responses, during a certain kind of TV show. Such as a live event like the Oscars–one that I sort of care about, but not so much that I can’t look away for a few minutes.

But I’ve got no interest in twittering during “Justified,” because I really, really like that show. And there aren’t many celebrities whose tweets can get me to watch a show I don’t like.

Still, as I type this, I’m half-watching the last few minutes of a 14-year-old movie I haven’t thought about for a long time. So maybe the Twitter folks are on to something….