Twitter’s Big Bold Bet in Social Video Streaming
Twitter, the social media giant, has been on a restructuring phase since its founder Jack Dorsey made a comeback at the helm of affairs. The social media giant has been ailing with problems such as lack of new users, engagement, and newer growth engines. Jack Dorsey has been slowly but successfully driving the restructuring exercise and has brought in a number of changes to turnaround the fortunes. Some of the major initiatives include shifting the positioning from ‘Social’ to ‘News’ and increasing the word count in tweets to reposition and enrich user experience. Twitter believes as a brand, it stands for live content and users trust the platform to consume real-time content better than traditional mediums. It took a bold move in July ‘16 to bid for the digital video rights of ‘Thursday Night Football’ games of NFL and won a 10-match deal for $10Mn. Additionally, the game is also being broadcast on television by CBS and ‘The NFL Network’ for a wider television audience.
The first NFL match was broadcast live on 15 September ‘16, which was viewed by over 2.1Mn viewers with an average viewing time of 22 minutes. Twitter was successful in stitching content consumption and social engagement on one platform for users across the globe in an open gated community.
Live Video Streaming
Streaming live video content in a social ecosystem is an idea whose time has come and is the future of OTT video platforms. The platform allows users to watch, share and enjoy content with fellow community members sitting at virtual locations. Major social media players and video delivery platforms would eventually upgrade their platform to an ubiquitous social viewing experience in their products to bring higher engagement and time spent. Twitter has been at the forefront of the live social streaming having already tested the waters with Wimbledon and is now delivering live NFL games. It has been able to create a global community of viewers enjoying and discussing the event in real time.
Sports as a genre has been untouched by major OTT players or in certain cases have been kept behind paywalls due to higher digital rights cost. Twitter has changed the paradigm and has not only kept it open for viewers globally except Canada, but also brought in the social element to the sports genre. It has also tasted initial success by getting marquee brands as advertisers for the event such as Ford, Bank of America and Verizon Communications. The success of this model will not only redefine the delivery model but also the experience of watching sports content.
Future Proofing the platform
Twitter’s venture into social live streaming has created a dent in the market but it would need to move fast and start working towards next-gen viewing experience. The future of sports content delivery lies in VR wherein major broadcasters are already testing the waters by delivering local sports. Few of the players have also gone a step ahead and are providing options to choose viewing angles from different points in the stadium. Twitter would need to embrace the same and lead the next-gen video consumption wave.
The live video streaming move by Twitter is expected to bring in a paradigm shift in video consumption globally. Advertisers will eventually come on the platform once Twitter is able to get users in flock. Yahoo had witnessed a traffic of 15Mn in 2015 for their NHL Live streaming content which gives an indication of potential the platform promises.
However, Twitter needs to quick fix a few issues on the platform such as curating tweets customized to users, and optimize time lag in delivering live content. The biggest opportunity/challenge for Twitter would be to continuously bring interesting live events on the platform and create a strong engaging user base who chirp.