Twitter refocuses on live video as it battles a downward trend following 2016 $400m loss

Twitter losses continue

Expect to see more live video in your Twitter feed as a strategy to combat a downward trend, with the company reporting a loss of more than $400m in the last year, according to its annual 10-K report released this week.

Going forward, Twitter plans to grow its video presence in an effort to reach new users and potential buyers according to Geekwire. While it said in the annual report that it still isn’t making money off Periscope, the move taps into a bigger shift on social media toward video. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, for example, sees video as a “mega trend.”

“In 2017, our focus is building and shipping product changes more rapidly to make Twitter safer,” Twitter said in the report. “We intend to invest in our core use case and in new product areas — such as live streaming video, among others — that further strengthen Twitter’s unique position as the best and fastest place to see and talk about what’s happening in the world.”

The social media site has been refocusing its money in the last year, cutting Vine and Fabric and instead expanding Periscope and Twitter Moments, a curated feed of tweets. Both services tap into what Twitter does best, providing a real-time picture of what’s happening in the world, the article notes.

Ideally, the restructuring will help Twitter bring more users to the site. The company has seen slow growth in the past year, with only a 4% increase in monthly active users from 2015. In the report, Twitter said this could be partially due to how confusing the site is for new users.

“There may be a perception that our products and services are only useful to users who Tweet, or to influential users with large audiences,” Twitter wrote. “Convincing potential and new users of the value of our products and services is critical to increasing our user base and to the success of our business.”

Twitter has also had problems growing internationally. The social media site has been blocked by internet service providers in China, and countries such as Iran, Libya, Turkey, Pakistan and Syria have intermittently blocked access “primarily for political reasons.”

These problems with government policy aren’t just abroad, either. In the report, Twitter cites President Trump’s attempts to block immigration as a risk factor going forward.

“Changes to US immigration and work authorization laws and regulations can be significantly affected by political forces and levels of economic activity,” Twitter said. “Our business may be materially adversely affected if legislative or administrative changes to immigration or visa laws and regulations impair our hiring processes or projects involving personnel who are not citizens of the country where the work is to be performed."

Twitter's slow user growth along with its increasing deficit made it a difficult sell to potential buyers last year. Twitter reported its accumulated deficit grew to $2.55bn in 2016, up from $2.09bn the year before. The company’s revenue, meanwhile, has only grown by $300m in the same amount of time, going from $2.22bn in 2015 to $2.53bn last year.

Laurie Fullerton

Laurie Fullerton is a writer based in Boston, MA with a background in business, sports, community, medical and travel writing. She has been a newspaper editor in the Boston-area, a sports writer covering yacht racing and a community reporter. She has been reporting for The Drum since October 2015.

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