Twitter is making a major push into live video programming as part of its ongoing bid to become an around-the-clock, “always on” broadcast network — and attract lucrative video advertising rates.
Under black lighting that illuminated the Twitter logo during a frenetic presentation to advertisers, or, as Twitter terms them, “partners,” at the digital Newfronts on Monday evening, the social media network unveiled 16 partnerships with publishers to live-stream regular news, sports and entertainment content made exclusively for Twitter.
This builds on the first quarter of this year, when Twitter aired 800 hours of live programming. “Last quarter, we streamed over 800 hours of live premium content from leading brands across sports, news and entertainment,” chief operating officer Anthony Noto said. “Adding these 12 new live deals tonight is a testament to the success of our only-on-Twitter experience, combining high-quality streaming video with our only-on-Twitter conversation.”
Bloomberg, which is one of Twitter’s partners in the initiative, rolled out its offering to clients Monday afternoon at its headquarters in Midtown. Bloomberg Media chief executive officer Justin B. Smith explained that consumers have more choices when it comes to where they get their news, but they also have less faith in the quality of that content. To illustrate the point, he said during the presidential election four out of five of the “most reacted to” stories on Facebook were fake news. Through its partnership with Twitter, which it is dubbing “#TheNewNews,” Bloomberg will provide its content for trending topics on the social platform. The streaming network will include live video reporting from Bloomberg journalists, for example, as well as curated and verified content posted on Twitter by users.
Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, who founded the media company joined Twitter ceo Jack Dorsey to impress upon the guests the power of the partnership. While they didn’t expressly address what the content deal would entail or the financials behind it, the two men spoke about entrepreneurship and staying relevant.
“Someone is going to come along and disrupt us,” said Bloomberg, intimating that today wasn’t that day.
For his part, Dorsey offered his mission as it relates to building Twitter. “We want to leave a mark and better the world.”
Aside from the Twitter rollout, the media company introduced a handful of marketing products and two new branded digital series. One show, called “Provenance,” is about the art world, and the other, “Leagues of Nations,” covers the world of soccer; both shows delve into the financial side of both industries, naturally.
But back to Twitter.
“News is having a moment,” global vice president of client solutions Matthew Derella told the crowd.
BuzzFeed News will launch a morning show called (what else?) MorningFeed where hosts Isaac Fitzgerald and Sayeed Jones will bring news and memes to an audience that is already on Twitter. As part of its presentation, Fitzgerald and Jones hosted a mock show, during which they asked the audience to vote on whether certain tweets were “OMG” or “WTF.” BuzzFeed and Twitter previously partnered on an Election Day show last year that, according to a BuzzFeed report, reached around 7.7 million unique viewers. Cheddar, the finance-focused, social media-friendly Millennial alternative to CNBC, will add an Opening Bell show to its current Closing Bell stock market report. And the Vox Media-owned tech site The Verge will air a weekly gadget review show.
Despite losing a deal to Amazon to live stream NFL games last month, Twitter has been widely successful in the sports arena. As part of its new lineup, Twitter revealed a different content partnership with the NFL. Twitter will live-stream games, as well as other content, for the WNBA, PGA Tour and MLB, and unveil original programming for a Stadium, a new 24/7 sports network that incorporates tweets into its programming, and kick off a partnership with Derek Jeter’s platform The Players’ Tribune on a show called #Verified touted for breaking down the barriers between athletes and fans.
When it comes to entertainment, Twitter said former NBC wunderkind and Propagate ceo Ben Silverman will produce a daily live show on Twitter called #WhatsHappening, hosted by Phoebe Robinson of 2 Dope Queens podcast fame. A partnership with Viacom includes a behind-the-scenes look at fashion weeks in partnership with IMG and a deal to exclusively air Live Nation concerts.
“I was given 140 seconds,” Dorsey said, before thanking the audience for coming to Twitter’s NewFronts instead of going to the Met Gala. “But if you open up Twitter, you can be there.”