Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Twitter looking for Middle East video partners

The social networking service is competing with peers to increase user engagement and recently announced 12 new content-streaming deals.
Peter Greenberger, Twitter’s global director of news, said that the company was in discussions with a number of companies in the Middle East about offering live content. Satish Kumar / The National
Peter Greenberger, Twitter’s global director of news, said that the company was in discussions with a number of companies in the Middle East about offering live content. Satish Kumar / The National

Twitter is seeking stronger partnerships with media allies in the Middle East as part of a global strategy to increase advertising revenue by offering more live video.

The social networking service is competing with peers including Facebook to increase user engagement by way of exclusive live sports, news and entertainment video content.

Twitter announced 12 content streaming deals on Tuesday, including a 24/7 Bloomberg news channel, selected concerts from Live Nation and live action from golf’s PGA Tour.

Peter Greenberger, Twitter’s global director of news, said in an interview that the company was in discussions with a number of companies in the Middle East about offering live content.

“We’re looking for events that will be valuable and popular within the local market. A lot of it is about getting the rights to it working with the right partner, making sure we can make a unique viewing experience,” said Mr Greenberger.

“We’re hoping to sign very soon for the next live production here in the region.”

Twitter’s live-streamed video of Emaar Properties’ fireworks display on New Year’s Eve was the company’s first live video deal in the region. The display generated 3.7 million video views worldwide, with the #MyDubaiNewYear campaign generating 48 million impressions.

Mr Greenberger said that the consumption of video by users on Twitter and other mobile platforms was higher in the Middle East than in many other regions, making local live video content deals a natural progression for the company.

“We’re currently working on what the next one would be,” he said.

“It might be news, it might be sports, it might be entertainment, but I think you’ll see more and more of that.”

Mr Greenberger said that several regional news outlets had already approached Twitter about offering live video news content on its platform. He declined to give further details.

Twitter hopes that live and exclusive video content will increase user engagement on the platform, which it than can monetise by selling targeted advertisements.

The company signed its first significant live broadcast deal last year, paying US$10 million for the right to live-stream 10 Thursday night National Football League American football games.

However, the company faces competition from deep-pocketed rivals, including Facebook and Amazon, that are also looking to boost their online broadcast offerings.

Twitter was unable to renew its NFL deal last month, losing out to a $50m bid from Amazon.

Mr Greenberger conceded that competition for broadcasting rights was likely to intensify but insisted that the engagement of Twitter’s user base with live content would give it an edge.

“As long as we focus on what we do well, that is bringing together the largest, greatest breadth of interesting conversation into one place and then tying that to live content. I think we’ll do very well,” he said.

jeverington@thenational.ae

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Updated: May 6, 2017 04:00 AM

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