Twitter Unveils Expanded Video-Advertising Program

Jack Dorsey pitches new programmatic Twitter Amplify ad-buying to Madison Avenue

Twitter announced a new plan to squeeze more dollars from video content shared on the social service, opening up its sponsored video-tweet program to share revenue with any creator who uploads clips.

Twitter video is now open for business,” Baljeet Singh, senior product director of media, TV and video, said at Twitter’s #VideoNOW event Thursday. “We’ve heard some feedback that advertisers want more scale, and they want the process to be a lot easier.”

Twitter held the standing-room-only event at Highline Stages in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District in front of an audience of agency, brand and media execs.

Founder Jack Dorsey opened the event to pitch Madison Avenue on the company’s latest ad initiative, saying it’s been a “really big week for us at Twitter Incorporated.” That started with his official appointment as CEO on Monday, and the launch of Twitter Moments, a curated live news service, on Tuesday.

The new program opens up the Twitter Amplify ad program to let virtually any video publisher or creator monetize their content with 6-second pre-roll ads — without having a deal in place with an advertiser or agency. The updated Amplify service lets advertisers run video ads against content automatically, in a “programmatic” fashion, based on preferred content categories.

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Twitter execs didn’t disclose what the revenue-sharing terms are. Industry sources familiar with the program said Twitter will pay content partners 70% of ad revenue, far more generous than YouTube and Facebook, which offer a 45% cut.

The expanded Twitter Amplify ad-buying program is available initially only in the U.S., with plans to roll it out globally in the future.

For Twitter Amplify, which officially launched in May 2013 after some early tests, the company has inked deals with more than 200 TV networks, sports leagues and digital publishers, including the NFL and MTV. But until now, running sponsored tweets necessitated those partners to have a direct deal with an advertiser.

Twitter said more than 50 media companies, TV networks and publishers have already joined the new Amplify program, including: Fox Broadcasting, MTV, Univision, Food Network, Vox Media, Maker Studios, Fullscreen, BuzzFeed, Time Inc. and WWE.

Under the expanded system, publishers can upload their videos to video.twitter.com and get paid through automated rev-share payments, according to Twitter. Advertisers can select categories of video content they want to run pre-roll against and can layer on additional audience targeting. Twitter then dynamically inserts the pre-roll ads into the most relevant videos being watched by their target audience.

Twitter in the fourth quarter plans to launch “promoted Moments,” which will let advertisers buy space in the Moments section that pull together multiple media elements, chief operating officer Adam Bain told the crowd.

In other news, Twitter is developing a way for users to search for media already on the service, and then embed that in their tweet, Singh said. He showed an example of a Twitter user embedding a “Star Wars” video clip in a tweet. According to Singh, 90% of video views on Twitter are now mobile.

Periscope founder Kayvon Beykpour also delivered a presentation, rattling off stats —claiming the live-streaming app’s users watch 40 years’ worth of video daily — and promising better integration between Twitter and Periscope. As for how Periscope will make money, Beykpour said half-jokingly, “There’s a business model in here that we’ll stumble upon.”

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