Twitter Announces New, Exclusive Video Programming at 2021 NewFronts Event

Twitter has announced a range of new video partnerships at its annual NewFronts event, including exclusive sports content from the MLB, WNBA and NHL, new news broadcasts from NBC, and other, exclusive video agreements that will further expand Twitter’s partner content slate.

The big focus this year, at least from a sporting perspective, will be the Tokyo Olympics – if, of course, the event does indeed go ahead amid the ongoing pandemic.

Twitter confirmed in 2019 that it had secured a deal for exclusive Olympics content (when it was scheduled for 2020), and today, the platform provided further details its arrangement with NBC, which will include an original live video show for Twitter called ‘Talkin’ Tokyo’, hosted by Adam Rippon and featuring other Olympic celebrities.

NBC will also host a daily poll which will let Twitter users vote on a ‘live look-in’ on NBC’s Primetime or Primetime Plus Olympic broadcasts each night, while it will also supply real-time video highlights throughout each day of the event.

On other sports, Twitter will also continue to broadcast live content and highlights from MLB, live pre-game shows for the NHL, while it will also air 12 live WNBA games throughout the season.

Twitter has also announced a new agreement with Riot Games to broadcast a live watch party for the League Championship Series (LCS), which will tie into the rising gaming discussion on the platform.

On news content, Twitter has announced an expanded partnership with NBCUniversal, which will look to share exclusive content from TODAY, CNBC and Noticias Telemundo to the platform ‘in totally new ways’. And interestingly, NBC News will also extend its ‘Inspiring America’ content series to audio via Twitter Spaces, the first new exclusive content deal for the platforms new audio functionality.

Twitter’s also announced a new programming deal with Billboard, which will include a focus on the most discussed songs in tweets, while it’s also outlined new video programming partnerships with Genius, Refinery29 and Tastemade.

That will expand Twitter’s slate of video content, which advertisers will then be able to promote against. Twitter also recently launched its new Curated Categories for video ads, which will provide more options for brands to align their video promotions with its premium video broadcasts.

As explained by Twitter:

Curated Categories include niche topics like light-hearted content, football, basketball, soccer, or gaming personalities and allow advertisers to run their pre-roll against video content from publishers covering the topic of choice. The publishers included in each of our Curated Categories are always hand-selected by Twitter teams for their relevance and conversation driving ability within their category’s topic, ensuring a deeper level of contextual alignment for brands.” 

That’ll provide more opportunities to tap into highly engaged conversation groups on Twitter, with sports, in particular, providing a lot of opportunity based on these new announcements.

There is strong potential here, and while video has never really taken off on the platform the way Twitter would have hoped, its ongoing content deals still facilitate direct audience connection, and Twitter users are increasingly watching more video content on the platform every year. 

Amid the various COVID lockdowns around the world, video views on Twitter increased by 62% from 2019 to 2020, while it also saw a 72% year-over-year increase in overall on-platform watch time. Those trends will normalize somewhat as the vaccine roll-outs continue on, but they do show that people are increasingly looking to video content, and video consumption habits are changing, which is important to note.

Twitter also says that more than 70% of user sessions now include video.

In addition to this, Twitter says that its Amplify pre-roll offering has proven increasingly popular over time, and is generating good results for brands.

There’s a range of potential opportunities here, and as people’s approaches to video content shift, it’s worth considering how your promotional strategies are evolving in-line.

Maybe, through tools like Curated Categories, and these new video programs, there could be a new outreach strategy waiting in the tweets. 

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