Twitter has announced a slate of over 35 premium video content partnerships with the likes of Bloomberg, Fox Sports Asia, Riot Games and KBS in Asia Pacific and will offer in-stream video advertising to advertisers, starting with Australia.
Speaking to The Drum on the sidelines of All That Matters 2017, Maya Hari, Twitter’s managing director for Asia Pacific, explains that while these deals are a great value proposition for the audience, the platform wants to build its monetisation strategy around it by offering pre-roll and mid-roll advertising on its live feed.
Transparency issues like viewability and advertising fraud will also be a key part of Twitter’s pitch to advertisers, according to Hari.
“We offer the ability to do pre-roll advertising for snippet and highlights videos. This is for brands who want brand safe, premium content to associate with, while still getting social engagement out of it, so this the perfect opportunity for them,” says Hari.
“Brand safety and ad fraud are things that are important to our advertisers which we have taken care of in building our platform and product.
“In the regular format, we follow the IAB viewability standard and we also have a more stringent standard that we allow for 100% in-frame viewability at three seconds, which is what we call the 'Twitter standard', where we give the advertisers the option to choose what they want to buy.”
Even as Twitter is building its strategy in video, Hari dismisses the idea that the company has evolved from a social media platform to a purely broadcast company.
She explains that the company look at itself as a news platform that brings the best of what is happening in the world to consumers, but news in a looser definition of what is current, which includes sports, entertainment and current affairs.
“Do we see ourselves as purely a broadcaster? No. Do we see ourselves as a strong, synergistic partner to the content industry? Yes, as we have the distribution and monetisation capabilities,” says Hari.
“We also have an immense amount of data and insights because we are a public platform for these partners to reap rewards from.
“Do we expect Twitter to become the platform of choice for a consumer to go watch premium content in news, sports and entertainment? Absolutely.”
Looking ahead, Hari admits that the prospect of in-house programming is appealing, but is keen to stress that production is not Twitter’s greatest strength and will leave that aspect to content creators at the moment.
“At the moment, we do not have plans for that, but we do work with creators in informal capacity to do interesting interviews and snippets, but not in the long-form format, which is not our core strength,” notes Hari.
“We much rather leave quality production to our content partners and we bring our strength which is the distribution, conversation and engagement, which is a good marriage.
“It is not something that we experimenting with, but things can always change.”
In other parts of the world, Twitter also signed similar deals with BT Sport to showcase its football results, BuzzFeed news to broadcast a daily morning news show and with BBC to stream coverage of Wimbledon.