Twitter puts live broadcasts atop user timelines
- Twitter is putting live video streams and broadcasts that users follow at the top of their timelines, making it easier to see the content in real time, per TechCrunch. The feature includes breaking news, personalities and sports, per a company tweet.
- The social networking company added the feature to its iOS and Android apps that it updated this week. Twitter and its sister broadcast service Periscope also support audio-only live broadcasts.
- Twitter last month discontinued its app for iOS 9 and older versions, which are still used by 5% of iPhone and iPad users, per Apple.
Twitter's update gives users another reason to stay with the platform, especially for real-time news and events. The app's immediacy has set it apart from other social media apps, making it a must-have app for professions like journalism and day trading that depend on breaking news. The new feature could make Twitter more of a destination for video content, which it has been prioritizing. If the update successfully drives views for the content, this could help Twitter attract more advertisers.
Twitter is among the social media companies that have expanded their video content in the past few years to appeal to big-name advertisers. Last month, the company partnered with BuzzFeed's U.K. operation to start streaming a weekly live show on Twitter called "#What2Watch" that will provide reviews and discussion about TV shows. Last year, BuzzFeed and Twitter partnered on a commercially successful morning talk show called "AM to DM" that counts Wendy's, Bank of America and Toyota as sponsors. Twitter airs a 24/7 news network called TicToc in partnership with Bloomberg, while millennial-focused business media company Cheddar also streams on the social network.
Twitter needs greater audience engagement as its audience growth stalls. Its global user base increased by just 2.7% to 335 million in Q2 2018 from a year earlier (by comparison, Facebook has 2.3 billion users, Instagram has 1 billion and Snapchat has 188 million users). Its U.S. user base was little changed at 68 million, but the company managed to sell more advertising. Twitter has worked to clean up its platform after developing a reputation for fake accounts, trolls and bots that made advertisers uneasy.
Mobile devices will be the primary driver of video ad growth in the next five years as U.S. consumers keep shifting their viewing habits toward smartphones and tablets, per a study by Forrester Research. Mobile is forecast to account for 72% of the growth in spending on online video advertising, while its share of the online video ad market will grow from 50% this year to 59% by 2023, the researcher said.