Twitter and Snapchat embrace video content with partnerships and ads

The platforms are turning to original shows and must-play commercials placed before user content, in an effort to increase revenue streams and to entice marketers and PR pros.

Twitter is pulling out all the stops for video in a bid to court marketers and increase its attractiveness to users.

On Monday, the platform announced more than 30 renewed and new partnerships “across entertainment, news sports, gaming and beyond”—almost doubling the amount of video partnerships Twitter had last year.

Twitter’s vice president of revenue and content partnerships, Matthew Derella, called the company’s ability to connect live moments and video with consumer conversations its “superpower.”

Engadget reported:

… Twitter has landed a Formula 1 deal: The @f1 account will stream a live post-race show (sorry, no live races) with both key interviews and panel discussions with luminaries like Nico Rosberg. The first of ten shows will premiere after the Spanish Grand Prix on May 13th, and you’ll also find on-demand race highlight clips.

On top of this, Twitter has divulged details of two of ESPN’s sports shows. SportsCenter Live is a “Twitter take” on ESPN’s signature news show that will offer breaking news through Twitter’s Moments feature. Fantasy Focus Live, meanwhile, translates the channel’s fantasy sports podcast to a livestreamed morning series.

Twitter’s deals with Formula 1 and ESPN are part of a large package of sports and gaming partnerships, which include Major League Baseball, Bleacher Report, Major League Soccer and Call of Duty World League.

ESPN isn’t the only portion of The Walt Disney Company with which Twitter is partnering, either. Disney announced that ABC, Freeform, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Marvel, Disney Channel, Radio Disney and Disney Digital Network will also create live content specifically for Twitter. Additional details about this partnership will be announced on Wednesday, with full information to follow at a later date.

NBCUniversal will also partner with Twitter to share content clips and live video from NBC, CNBC, E! News, Telemundo, MSNBC, NBC News and TODAY. Also included in the announcement are Hearst Magazines Digital Media (which will debut videos from Delish and Seventeen) and Viacom (which will create shows connected to Comedy Central, MTV and BET).

Along with sports and entertainment content, news outlets such as Vice News, HuffPost and Vox will join outlets such as BuzzFeed to offer original news shows on Twitter.

Based on early reactions, the move is a smart business decision for the platform, which has been struggling to keep up with competitors Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Bloomberg Technology reported:

The news sent Twitter shares up as much as 6 percent to $30.74. The stock had climbed 21 percent this year through the end of last week.

San Francisco-based Twitter has been trying to broaden its appeal and lure users by becoming a place to discover “what’s happening now.” Efforts to bulk up its streaming offerings have begun to pay off, and video has contributed more than half of advertising revenue for two quarters running. The pact with Disney gives Twitter a bigger arsenal of content that will help it compete against larger rivals, including Facebook Inc., that are also doubling down on livestreaming and video. Facebook’s Watch platform is starting to show scripted series and recently paid at least $30 million to stream 25 Major League Baseball games, Bloomberg reported in March.

The announcement should also reinforce to communicators the importance of video. If you’re not currently including this type of content, you might want to reconsider.

CNBC reported:

Daily video views have doubled over the past year, according to Twitter, and the company hopes adding more premium programming will attract new advertisers and audiences. Video makes up half of Twitter’s advertising revenue, the company said during its earnings report on April 25. It said its NewFront 82 percent of users interact with brands on its platform.

Advertisers spent $13 billion on digital video last year according to eMarketer, but by partnering with traditional media companies Twitter may be able to dip into the $71 billion television advertising budget. Its increasing efforts to create shows with online influencers may also chip away at YouTube’s dominance.

Snapchat offers must-run video ads

Though Twitter’s recent video announcement boasted its partnerships with larger advertising partners, Snapchat is offering marketing and PR pros of all stripes a chance to get in the video game.

Digiday reported:

A Snap spokesperson confirmed that the company will test a new ad format called, yes, Commercials, which will be six-second ads that run in select Snapchat Shows and not in Snapchat’s magazine-style Discover editions or users’ personal stories. The test is supposed to start around May 15, two of the sources said. reported:

Story Ads launched in November 2017 and were originally called Promoted Stories. These Promoted Stories were sold as untargeted national takeovers, where brands purchased a fixed slot near the top of the Discover feed. The ad format was launched with British online fashion store ASOS and US TV network HBO.

Now, with Story Ads, advertisers can utilise advanced targeting and auction-based pricing, and can choose to appear anywhere in the Discover feed—in order to reach the right users at the right time.

The Drum reported:

Custom-built for the redesigned feed-based Discover channel, Story Ads offer brands the ability to enable viewers to swipe up to view products, sites or videos while viewing long-form content. Positioned alongside premium content they offer the possibility of extending reach as each ad impression comes from viewing directly as opposed to an ad sandwiched between content.

Snapchat also claims to be able to offer keener pricing via the auction-based format as well as more accurate targeting toward pre-defined audiences.

As with Twitter’s announcement, Snapchat’s offering is focused on giving the platform a much-needed revenue boost from marketing partnerships.

Digiday reported:

The experience would be new for Snapchat and run counter to its past practice, but the app has had a tough first year as a public company, struggling to grow users and missing growth expectations, and advertising is its only source of revenue.

Though the platform has struggled with user numbers and positive PR since its redesign (it has tweaked its new look to bring back users who left), brand managers might be interested to know that Snapchat still has an impressive share of consumers’ attention on mobile devices.

The Drum reported that Snapchat has more than 60 million daily users located in Europe and reaches more than 25 percent of smartphone users in the United States, United Kingdom and France.

What do you think about these announcements?

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