- Twitter expanded its live and on-demand video programming of sports, gaming, entertainment and news content, per an announcement that coincided with its Digital Content NewFronts presentation in New York. Notably, the social network added broadcaster Univision as a content provider of Spanish-language programming for U.S. Hispanic users.
- Twitter also is collaborating for the first time with The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine, extending a lineup that includes previous streaming content providers such as the National Football League, ESPN, Viacom, Major League Soccer and Activision Blizzard. CBS Interactive's CNET will sell sponsorships of its Twitter-based coverage of industry events including CES and Mobile World Congress, along with tech news and buying guides.
- Concert promoter Live Nation in the fall will launch a concert and festival series that will only be available on Twitter. The lineup will include 10 concerts, along with moments from festivals including Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival and Electric Daisy Carnival.
Twitter's expanded lineup of exclusive video programming will bring more promotional opportunities for mobile marketers that seek to reach the social media company's 134 million daily users. In the past few years, Twitter has taken steps to appeal to more advertisers by scrubbing its platform of objectionable content and cracking down on internet trolls. The addition of professionally produced content from major media companies will help to make Twitter a more brand-safe environment for advertisers that have grown wary of controversial user-generated content (UGC).
Among the new offerings, The Wall Street Journal is launching "WSJ What's Now," a new franchise that will show business news and analysis in a video format. The business newspaper will stream live events including its Future of Everything and WSJ Tech D.Live conferences. Time magazine will develop content related to its annual Person of the Year and Time 100 list of influential people. MTV plans to let Twitter users vote on which celebrities to watch during live events like award shows and red-carpet moments. Univision will show soccer games, Latin music awards shows and special coverage of the 2020 election, per Twitter's announcement.
Twitter's push into original programming comes as spending on mobile video ads is forecast to grow over the next few years. Mobile platforms will expand their share of the U.S. digital video ad market to 51% by 2023 from 45% last year, per an estimate from researcher eMarketer. The firm predicts that U.S. advertisers will spend $16.4 billion on mobile video ads this year, compared with $19.6 billion on other devices such as desktop and laptop computers. Mobile devices comprised 25% of viewing time of streaming video services worldwide in Q3 2018, a promising metric for Twitter as it expands its original video programming.
For Twitter, the expanded lineup of video programming aims to keep more viewers engaged on its platform and to build on its sales momentum. Twitter's revenue, which mostly consists of advertising, rose 18% to $787 million in Q1 2019 from a year earlier as the company attracted more sponsors. Twitter is experimenting with ways to make its app more compelling and conversational, including a test version of its app that lets users open an entire conversational thread instead of making them tap on each individual post. The prototype "twttr" app doesn't have a timeline for broader release, CEO Jack Dorsey said during Twitter's earnings call with analysts.