Twitter’s new live streaming haul hints at the company’s strategy

Whereas on-demand content has started to become the new normal for most people when consuming entertainment, TV shows and films, there is clearly an ever-growing scramble from social media platforms to acquire the means to go in exactly the opposite direction.

As Twitter and Facebook continue their arms race to pile more and more content onto the streaming sections of their platforms, it’s live video which is becoming more important to their brands, more than the on-demand variety.

Twitter have announced 16 new live programmes coming to the site, across a range of entertainment, news and sporting topics this summer. It’s clear, though, that live sport is still the jewel in the crown.

Among the goodies promised by Twitter are live WNBA and MLB games as well as weekly round-up programmes. In addition, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass is to be streamed in 360 video by the PGA Tour and content from The Players Tribune promises to bring fans and athletes together in a fans’ forum.

The move shows Twitter’s desire to bring in extra programming beyond just the live events it has signed up to stream, extending its rivalry with traditional broadcasters: not only are they rivals for live streaming live sport, but also for analysis and build-up programmes around the event itself.

The social media giant’s blog post on the topic makes for illuminating reading, too. Twitter is known as the social media home of breaking news and reaction, so it makes sense that they wish to continue their association with live sport and the analysis of it: after all, when it comes to sport, Twitter is where the conversation takes place between fans, friends, journalists and sportspeople alike.

But it also shows how Twitter is betting on live video to bring in revenue.

Unlike on-demand video, live streaming on Twitter brings users to the platform en masse, and for a specific period of time. And so not only will the site have an influx of traffic at set times, but it will all be going to the same place in order to watch the event and interact. That’s where brands come in.

“If you’re a brand, there’s no better time to reach and engage your audience through premium video content,” said Matt Derella VP, Global Client Solutions in his Twitter blog post.

It looks like a winner for both Twitter and the brands getting in on the act, too. Live sport has always been an opportunity to reach a very well-defined audience who are – for want of a nicer word – captive in front of the event.

About author

Chris McMullan
Chris McMullan 480 posts

Chris is a sports journalist and editor of Digital Sport - follow him on Twitter @CJMcMullan_

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