Twitter plans to double down on live video this year
- Twitter COO Anthony Noto suggested that his company is looking to double the amount of live video offerings on its platform this year, as reported by CNBC.
- Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference last week, Noto pointed to the success of Twitter’s live Grammy Awards preshow, which attracted 5.1 million viewers — a larger audience than any NFL game shown on the platform and the second most-watched live stream behind the presidential election and Donald Trump's inauguration.
- In related news, Twitter signed premium cable channel Showtime as a live video partner last week, according to TechCrunch. On Saturday, Showtime streamed its Championship Boxing match as part of a free preview weekend promotion for its premium service. Twitter and Showtime have not announced plans to stream other content in the future.
Despite posting lackluster fourth-quarter earnings earlier this month, Twitter continues to catch the eyes of some major media brands which may, in turn, bring in some new, much-needed ad dollars. While the platform has struggled to grow in any significant way for years, it retains 319 million monthly active users — audience figures that probably look a good deal more appealing to TV broadcasters and advertisers who are now grappling with a growing trend toward cable cord-cutting.
Reports have suggested that Twitter is actually looking to remold its core advertising business, including staple products like Promoted Tweets, to better favor video-driven content. Noto's comments appear to support that pivot.
Both CNBC and TechCrunch also highlighted Twitter's recent deal to stream rugby matches from the U.K. and France, and CNBC reports that a single lacrosse game streamed on the platform attracted 500,000 viewers. For smaller sports or events that may be, in general, more niche than those typically shown on the big TV broadcast networks, Twitter could be a viable way to attract eyeballs and is likely cheaper to produce for.
As much bigger, more popular competitors like Facebook and Instagram throw more weight behind their live video offerings, niche content might be the area for Twitter to own. COO Noto noted that Twitter is "trying to build awareness of these underserved pieces of content," per CNBC.
The fact that a Grammys preshow broadcast netted more viewers than NFL programming speaks to the home smaller or less marquee live events might find on Twitter.
Noto, for his part, recently shifted positions at Twitter from being the company's chief financial officer to also being its chief operating officer, putting him in charge of the platform's revenue-generating business including ad sales, partnerships and business development. His growing role at Twitter — and, specifically, with its push into live video — has lead some to speculate he will be more essential in righting the company's ship than CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey.
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