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Twitter Expands Live-Streaming Video Lineup, Sets Content Deals With Viacom, ESPN, Live Nation, Univision, and More

Twitter is continuing to bulk up on live video — but its strategy is less of a volume play than an attempt to build deeper connections with targeted audiences on the social platform through partnerships with media companies and sports leagues.

Twitter announced a series of new and expanded deals at its Digital Content NewFronts presentation Monday in New York, its third appearance in the IAB-managed digital marketing series.

In addition to new initiatives with previous partners including the NFL, ESPN, Viacom, Major League Soccer, Live Nation, and Activision Blizzard, Twitter unveiled a deal with Univision Communications to bring more premium sports, news and entertainment content to the social network’s U.S. Hispanic users. In addition, Twitter is adding content from the Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.

The deals build on Twitter partnerships it has already announced in 2019 so far, including with the NBA, MLB, PGA Tour, BuzzFeed News, Fox Sports, Bill Simmons’ The Ringer, CNN, Marvel and the Drone Racing League.

“Together with our partners, we developed this new slate of programming specifically for our audiences, and designed the content to fuel even more robust conversation on Twitter,” said Kay Madati, Twitter’s global VP and head of content partnerships.

Here’s a rundown of Twitter’s announcements:

Entertainment

  • Viacom: MTV will launch the “VMA Stan Cam” for its tentpole Video Music Awards show this year, letting fans select which audience member they’d like to watch on a live reaction cam or follow backstage and behind-the-scenes during the show’s biggest moments. Viacom also will be bringing back red carpet coverage of BET, CMT and other MTV tentpole events.
  • Univision: New content for Twitter will include 2020 election analysis and reporting with “Vision 2020”; select soccer highlights from Liga MX and UEFA Champions League; Latin music award show coverage of Premios Juventud and Premio Lo Nuestro; and content from reality TV shows “Reina de La Canción” and “Mira Quién Baila.”
  • Live Nation: In the fall of 2019, Live Nation will launch a new concert and festival series exclusively on Twitter, featuring 10 concerts over in 10 weeks as well as moments from festivals including Governors Ball, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo Arts & Music Festival, and Electric Daisy Carnival.

Sports and Gaming

  • ESPN: “ESPN Onsite” will be the brand extension of the sports broadcaster’s live shows, encompassing existing ESPN franchises on Twitter like “The College Football Show,” “Hoop Streams,” “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show,” and “MLS Countdown Live.” In addition, ESPN will add Onsite branding on Twitter around other tentpole events when they are on location.
  • NFL: As part of a multiyear partnership extension, the league will continue to program video highlights, breaking news and analysis, and will also include new live shows anchored around NFL tentpole events including the NFL Draft.
  • The Players’ Tribune: Launching talk show called “Don’t @ Me,” an interactive live broadcast featuring two athletes debating every “greatest of all time” topic under the sun, featuring notable comments from Twitter users and fan voting to determine the winner of the debates.
  • MLS: Soccer league’s multiyear extension of its Twitter agreement will continue to provide highlights and a slate of live matches in English (via @UnivisionSports and @MLS). In addition, MLS will post every goal on Twitter.
  • WarnerMedia’s Bleacher Report: House of Highlights, the hoops brand that was born on Instagram, is coming back to Twitter for season 2 of its highlights show with athletes and celebs joining Omar Raja, founder of House of Highlights.
  • Blizzard Entertainment: For its BlizzCon 2019 gaming convention (Nov. 1–2), Blizzard will deliver a selection of content to Twitter for the first time, including the entirety of the opening ceremony, behind-the-scenes interviews and live broadcasts, and clips and highlights of game-developer panels and esports tournaments.

News

  • The Wall Street Journal: “WSJ What’s Now” on Twitter will be a new brand serving business analysis and markets insights daily; the content will include live-streaming premium conferences and events including the Future of Everything and WSJ Tech D.Live.
  • TicToc by Bloomberg: After launching two years ago, TicToc will expand coverage to include global events like the G20 Summit, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and World Economic Forum.
  • CBS Interactive’s CNET: In a new partnership with Twitter, CNET will sell sponsorship opportunities its coverage on Twitter of industry events such as CES and Mobile World Conference, along with buying guides and tech news.
  • Time: The magazine property (which Meredith sold last year Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff) will develop content exclusively for Twitter around franchises like Person of the Year and Time 100, including live-streaming video.

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