19 May 2019
Twitter is ramping up efforts to promote video content and live-streaming on its platform, attracting users and big advertisers. Photo: Bloomberg
Twitter is ramping up efforts to promote video content and live-streaming on its platform, attracting users and big advertisers. Photo: Bloomberg

Twitter’s push into video content starting to pay off

Social media platform Twitter’s stock has soared about 30 percent year-to-date, boosted by positive fourth-quarter results published in February.

Much of its good fortune is due to the company’s decision to develop video content and live streaming on its platform as a way to attract users and accelerate advertising growth, Bloomberg reports.

A watershed in Twitter’s push to enhance its video content came in 2015 when it acquired live-streaming platform Periscope, which allows users to broadcast live video and interact with others via virtual items and comments.

Kayvon Beykpour, Periscope’s co-founder, joined Twitter after the social media bought his app, and has since then become Twitter’s video lead.

“[Periscope] is mostly separate from Twitter but helped inform the larger strategy,” Beykpour told Bloomberg.

“We had this early inkling that live-broadcasting and live-streaming was a visceral, raw, powerful way for people to share what’s happening from the palm of their hand.”

Beykpour, who now runs the entire video operation of Twitter, says he wants Twitter to be a “prominent place to share, whether it’s you on the street capturing or a professional publisher that wants to share content.”

Ramping up its live-streaming efforts, Twitter has tied up with popular sports leagues in the United States. In 2016, it began streaming weekly Major League Baseball games, along with those from other sports organizations like the National Hockey League and National Football League. It has added Esports tournaments, lacrosse and women’s basketball games on its sports programming list as well.

Its efforts soon came to the attention of advertisers. Goldman Sachs and AT&T, for example, are now buying video ads in Twitter’s timeline or running brand campaigns next to its live broadcasts.

Twitter has also partnered with professional content publishers and premium cable channels, such as BuzzFeed, Vox, and Bloomberg, which create bespoke content for the social platform.

Moreover, the social media platform has encouraged brands to live-stream content at popular events, such as the annual Consumer Electronics Show.

“All of our efforts want to tie the organic conversation on the platform with what’s happening in the world, whether it’s a goal in a soccer game, a news event or the Oscars,” Twitter’s global head of content partnerships Kay Madati told Bloomberg.

Live-streaming is big business in China, where netizens never tire of watching people eat or apply makeup on a daily basis.

China’s live streaming market, in fact, has 390 million users, generating 34 billion yuan (US$5.41 billion) income last year, according to data from the China Internet Network Information Center. And the market is expected to hit 60 billion yuan by 2020.

Up to 70 percent of the revenue for live-streaming sites comes from virtual gifts, which viewers buy for their favorite “streamers” with real money.

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