Twitter Testing ‘Subscription’ Feature

President Trump’s favorite communication platform, Twitter, is reportedly testing a “subscription” option that would enable users to link to threads without commenting or adding a post.

The subscription option is similar to what YouTube and Instagram employ enabling users to keep track of third-party video posts without actively engaging directly or paying for them.

Twitter told DigitalTrends the test is part of the social media platform’s attempt to attract more casual users and entice advertisers.

The social media platform, which recently released an experimental app, Twttr, designed to offer more chat-like features, said it wants to make the service “more conversational.”

Separately, at last week’s SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, Twitter disclosed a new camera for the app affording users easier sharing of videos and photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter Ups Q4 Daily Users, Ad-Revenue

President Trump’s favorite communication vehicle — Twitter — Feb. 7 reported 27 million people in the United States used the social media platform on a daily basis in the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) — which was up 2 million users from the previous-year period.

Twitter, for the first time, revealed daily use of the platform, which included 10 million more users outside the U.S. to 99 million from 89 million in the previous-year period.

“We want to provide something valuable to people on Twitter every day, and we believe that monetizable [daily average use], and its related growth, are the best ways to measure our success,” founder/CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in the shareholder letter.

Average monthly use of the San Francisco-based service declined worldwide, including by 2 million in the U.S. to 66 million, and by 7 million to 255 million internationally.

Advertising revenue, which makes up the bulk of Twitter’s sales, increased 23% to $791 million from $644 million. Data licensing and other revenue increased 35% to $117 million from $87 million in the previous-year period.

Non-GAAP net income increased 73% to $244 million from $141 million during the previous-year period.

In the letter, Dorsey said abuse reports filed by users fell 16%, with the platform pledging to curb abuse of the platform by politically-motivated groups, individuals and others engaged in fraudulent or hateful activity.

“We will continue to prioritize the health of the public conversation on Twitter so people feel safe being a part of the conversation and are able to find credible information on our service,” he wrote.

In 2018, Twitter fielded 100 live-streaming video events and signed several video-on-demand agreements to complement user-generated and licensed live and on-demand video content already available on Twitter across a number of verticals including sports, news and politics, and entertainment.

Dorsey reiterated that video continues to be a “powerful, essential medium” on Twitter, enabling users and content owners to better “share experiences, engage in events, and converse with broader audiences.”

 

 

 

Twitter to Live-Stream 20 NBA Games From Player POV

The National Basketball Association, Turner Sports and Twitter Jan. 9 announced a live-streaming deal that affords hardwood aficionados in the United States access to 20 “NBA on TNT” games this season.

In a first, during the second halves of those games, users will be able to watch the action through a single-player, isolated camera view. Underscoring the interactive element of the deal, users vote on Twitter for the player they want to see featured during the live stream of select regular-season and playoff games airing on TNT as well as the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.

“The NBA Twitter community is among the most vibrant in sports and entertainment,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “While watching NBA games on TNT, our fans on Twitter can now enjoy a unique second screen experience that will further enhance the way fans engage with each other and the game.”

The live-streams will debut during TNT’s presentation of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 17, with an ISO-CAM of a fan-voted player. The schedule of regular-season and playoff live streams will be announced at a later date, along with exclusive commentators who will provide analysis for this second screen offering.

“This complementary live stream on Twitter — from the distinct vantage point of the fan-voted, most coveted player on a given night – will provide an additive experience for fans to go along with the fully-produced coverage on TNT,” said Turner president David Levy.

As part of the expanded relationship, the NBA — through its NBA Digital partnership with Turner — will continue to provide on-demand content from the @NBA Twitter handle, including video of pre-game warmups, in-game and post-game highlights, and behind-the-scenes content.

Since the NBA joined Twitter in 2009, the league has built the largest Twitter community of any sports league in the world with 27.5 million followers.

Digital Hollywood Panelists Discuss Challenges and Opportunities of Content Delivery on Eve of CES Show

LAS VEGAS — The challenges and opportunities of content programming in an increasingly online world were the subject of a Digital Hollywood panel Jan. 7 in Las Vegas on the eve of the CES show.

Three important challenges to an online content provider are facilitating “access, discovery and community,” said Soumya Sriraman, president of the subscription on demand service Britbox, which offers British programming. While access is getting easier for consumers, content discovery is a challenge and building an online community is even more of a challenge, she said, speaking on the panel “The Future of TV: From Primetime to Multi-Platforms.” One strategy Britbox has used to build its community is offering programming concurrent with its debut in the United Kingdom, she said.

PBS, too, is building its community of local station supporters through PBS Passport, said Ira Rubenstein, chief digital and marketing officer, PBS Digital. Those who donate at least $5 a month to their local station get online access to an expanded library of content not available on the PBS OTT platform. Meanwhile, another challenge for PBS is accommodating both an older audience that likes traditional linear TV and a younger audience that wants greater online access.

Finding an audience is aided by a platform, such as Twitter, which facilitates communities, noted Laura Froelich, senior director, partner management, global content partnerships at the social media company. Twitter helps its partners find and serve their audiences. The company is helping the PGA service its audience by uncovering the golf fans’ desire to see more than what is broadcast.

“Golf fans on Twitter were very, very vocal,” she said.

Different kinds of programming will begin to evolve, several panelists noted.

The PBS program “Frontline,” for instance, through its “Transparency Project” gives online viewers access to the entire interview of subjects in its documentaries.

Stefanie Schwartz, EVP, media networks digital partnerships and digital studios strategy and operations, Viacom, said her company is reimagining its program for mobile. For instance, for “The Daily Show,” the company created a segment called “Between the Scenes,” in which host Trevor Noah speaks to the audience in the commercial break only on social media.

Colby Smith, SVP, content and partnerships, ABC News, said through its 24/7 ABC News Live online platform, which launched in May, the network is deconstructing traditional TV elements to make them more dynamic. The breaking news and live events channel is found on various streaming services and social platforms. Referencing Netflix’s experimentation with a choose-your-own-adventure, multiple storyline strategy with “Black Mirror,” he envisioned online news content where the platform asks viewers where they want reporters to take a news story.

“That’s where it get’s really exciting,” he said.

“I think content is going to drastically change,” said PBS’s Rubenstein. “What is defined as content is going to drastically change.”

CES 2019: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to Discuss Expanded Partnership

For better or worse, Twitter engages people through social media.

Take the Christmas Day NBA matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers, which was infamously hyped on Twitter after the Warriors featured an illustration of forward Draymond Green attempting to spread holiday cheer.

Twitter followers thought the image made Green look fat. And the snarking followed.

“Did KD draw this?” tweeted one follower in reference to the Warriors’ forward Kevin Durant.

While public putdowns on Twitter are nothing new, the NBA and Twitter hope the platform can enhance the consumer experience – in addition to their bottom lines.

The Consumer Technology Association Dec. 27 announced that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver are scheduled to have a conversation with ESPN anchor Rachel Nichols at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 8-11, 2019in Las Vegas.

The session, “#NBATwitter: A Conversation with Adam Silver and Jack Dorsey,” will discuss the NBA’s approach to sports technology with a spotlight on #NBATwitter.

Moderated by Nichols, Dorsey and Silver will speak from the CES Sports Zone Stage at 1:30 PM, on Jan. 9 at ARIA, Level 3, Primrose Ballroom 2-3.

“The partnership between Twitter and the NBA illustrates the ever-growing symbiotic relationship between sports and technology,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA, said in a statement.

CES 2018 saw every sports league represented, including Major League Soccer, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NCAA, NFL, NHL, U.S. Olympic Committee and WWE. Professional athletes, such as Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Joe Montana, Landon Donovan, Bryce Harper and Michael Phelps made appearances and contributed to the narrative surrounding sports technology innovation.

CES 2019 will be no different.

Returning to the annual confab for 2019, the CES Sports Zone will feature the latest tech innovation impacting all facets of sports – from athletic performance to fan engagement and the business of sports on and off the field.

In addition to exhibits, the Sports Zone conference program will feature athletes and industry experts as they explore the future of sports technology, including the quantified athlete, immersive fan experience, smart venues and eSports. Another aspect is the CES Sports Zone Lounge hosted by Sports Innovation Lab and sponsored by the NFL Players Association.

CES attendees will be able to experience eSports firsthand via The Gamespot eSports truck located in the CES Sports Zone of Tech West (#45822). Featuring 10 gaming kiosks for both professional gamers and attendees to showcase their skills in Mario Kart and the newly released Super Smash Brothers, the truck will host a series of competitions and invite all to take part in periods of open play.

Some 4,500 exhibitors will unveil technology across every major industry at CES 2019, across a show floor spanning 2.75 million net square feet.

Warriors’ Stephen Curry’s soft shot in losing effort against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day.

Comscore Partnering with Snap for Content Viewership Data

Data measurement firm Comscore Nov. 5 announced a partnership with Snap to integrate Snapchat Discover traffic into Comscore’s digital audience measurement. The deal is expected to better qualify Snapchat traffic on both owned-and-operated and distributed content platforms.

“We are committed to helping our partners and advertisers have a better understanding of their audience in order to build long-term, sustainable business models,” said Nick Bell, VP of content at Snap, said in a statement. “Our integration with Comscore is another important step in our continued progress towards establishing valuable measurement practices.”

Indeed, Comscore in February said that 63% of U.S. households (59 million) with high-speed Internet streamed an average of 50 hours of OTT video that month – ranging from 20 minutes to more than three hours per day.

Better understanding its audience has been a priority since the social media platform earlier this year redesigned the Snapchat Discover app, including separating content – including video – from friends, celebrities and publishers into different categories.

The move angered many Snap users, including reality TV star Kylie Jenner, whose tweet that she didn’t use Snapchat much anymore resulted in a $1 billion market valuation drop.

Comscore said the new partnership affords a more “holistic” view of audience scale, with the addition of audience viewing of publisher’s content on Snapchat, to traffic from the publisher’s own entities.

“With so many consumers viewing content through social platforms, it’s vital that this consumption is adequately accounted for,” said Dan Hess, chief product officer at ComScore. “We are excited to partner with Snap to integrate Discover traffic into our digital audience solutions so both publishers and media buyers have a more complete view of audience size, engagement, and potential value.”

 

Freedom of Speech or Peddling Hate in an OTT World?

In the current politically toxic culture where “fake news” allegations and “enemies of the people” campaign rally cries by the POTUS against the media (except Fox News) continue to divide the country, bigotry and hate are now rationalized by many as differences of opinion between “good people on both sides.”

While the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law abridging the freedom of speech, or the freedom of the press, the Internet and over-the-top video has given those wishing to upend the country’s moral compass an unending bully pulpit.

Take Alex Jones, the radio host and conspiracy theorist loon who makes rightwing propagandists Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity seem normal.

Jones, who started website Infowars in 1999 as a platform to pitch irrational thought, is infamous for tearful rants (literally) decrying the 9/11 terrorist attacks as an inside government operation; and claiming the Sandy Hook school shooting – that killed 26 children and adults in Connecticut – was carried out by left-leaning forces aimed at implementing stricter gun control.

Apple Aug. 5 apparently wearied of Jones’ shtick. The tech giant pulled several Infowars podcasts off iTunes, citing the platform’s hate speech guidelines. Facebook and Spotify followed Aug. 6, with Facebook reportedly suspending Jones’ personal account as well.

Twitter, which has become President Trump’s unofficial press platform, chose not to ban Jones, saying he had not violated the company’s use guidelines.

“We know that’s hard for many, but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted Aug. 7. “We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.”

But a quick look at Twitter’s rules against abusive behavior finds this: “We prohibit behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear.”

But Jones did just that in 2016 during the run up to the presidential election when he promoted the fake story that Democrat Party officials operated a child pornography ring from a pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

A North Carolina man was later arrested after firing shots into the pizzeria due to the hoax.

But real-world incidents like this don’t seem to bother Dorsey, who doubled-down on his Aug. 7 tweet, suggesting it is the responsibility of the media and journalists to “validate” Jones’ claims.

“This is what serves the public conversation best,” he tweeted.

Apparently, the “enemies of the people” – not Twitter – should now be responsible for fact-checking hate peddlers, who you know, are still “good people.”

 

No ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ for Roseanne

Years ago, the predecessor to Media Play News (Home Media Magazine) interviewed Roseanne Barr regarding a pending DVD release. Barr, who was long past the original “Roseanne” TV show at the time, was charming, witty (“I’m only talking to you for the money”) and bored.

“I sit around the house and watch a lot of TV,” she chuckled. “I like ‘Nancy Grace.’”

Unfortunately for Barr, boredom these days apparently includes wading into the social media abyss — and leaving common sense to others.

Which is what happened to the former standup comic this morning, resulting in a tirade of offensive tweets, including a racist post about a former Obama Administration official. All that was missing was a noose.

Not even Nancy Grace could (or would) save Barr from the swift blowback in the media and on social media condemning her comments. Comic Wanda Sykes, a writer on the “Roseanne” reboot on ABC quickly quit the show in protest.

Barr apologized for her tweets, adding she would be leaving Twitter for good.

Of course, no one should really be surprised considering Barr’s questionable public statements in the past, unrepentant support of President Trump, who launched his campaign on the back of bigotry, and politically incorrect tone in the new “Roseanne” show.

Barr’s comments are protected under the First Amendment, not unlike the Second Amendment affording gun rights to individuals who should never have access to a firearm.

Indeed, Harris Faulkner, a black female host on Fox News, defended Barr.

“I don’t understand it to be anything other than free speech,” Faulkner said.

Yes, but free speech is a slippery slope. Just because you can spout bigoted thoughts, doesn’t mean you should. Especially when you are in the public eye — and advertisers are footing the bill.

ABC wisely canceled “Roseanne,” despite the show’s top ratings in a media landscape under siege by over-the-top video.

“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” Channing Dungey, entertainment chief at ABC, said in a statement.

Barr’s agent, ICM Partners, agreed, dumping her as a client.

“We are all greatly distressed by the disgraceful and unacceptable tweet from Roseanne Barr this morning,” ICM said in a statement, as reported by The Wrap. “What she wrote is antithetical to our core values, both as individuals and as an agency.”

Paramount Network, TV Land, CMT and Hulu dropped airing/streaming “Roseanne” re-runs. The show is still available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

And thus, in a matter of hours, Barr went from TV’s biggest comeback story to social outcast, joining “Seinfeld” legend Michael Richards (Kramer) – whose 2006 racist outburst during a standup gig sent the actor’s career into extinction.

Maybe, Barr should start watching “Dr. Phil.”

Netflix Worth More Than Comcast, Disney on Wall Street

Thanks to a record stock price, subscription streaming video behemoth Netflix quietly ended May 23 with a market value exceeding Comcast for the first time.

The same Comcast that owns NBC Universal, DreamWorks Animation and wants to own 20th Century Fox Film and British satellite TV operator Sky.

Netflix ended the day with market capitalization of $149 billion, which bested Comcast’s $147 billion market cap. Netflix opened May 24 up to $151.8 billion, which passed Disney’s $151.7 billion market cap.

With more than 125 million subscribers globally, Netflix continues to grow. The service expects to add 6.2 million subs in the second quarter ending June 30.

The service also continues to expand its creative product with the bow of “Dear White People,” “The Break with Michelle Wolf” on May 27, and announcement of future projects with former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The latter drew some pushback on social media, with several subscribers saying on Twitter they would cancel their service, according to Fortune.

Apparently, President Obama’s desire to “cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples and help them share their stories with the entire world,” being an affront to some.

Chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the Obamas are “uniquely positioned to discover and highlight stories of people who make a difference in their communities and strive to change the world for the better.”

And Wall Street agrees — for now.

Disney, Twitter Expand Original Content Deal

The Walt Disney Co. and Twitter April 30 announced a new agreement to create live content and advertising opportunities across the entire Disney portfolio on the Twitter platform. The pact includes more than 30 new collaborations and renewals across entertainment, news, sports, and gaming – nearly doubling the number of programs created in the first deal in 2017.

Twitter, which claims to have 328 million monthly users, is looking to expand original content to mobile users. The social media platform earlier this year inked a deal with Major League Baseball to live-stream a weekly afternoon game each week. Twitter also streams NFL Monday Night Football games.

Disney subsidiaries creating content for Twitter, include ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform, Disney Digital Network, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Radio Disney and Marvel.

Live content launching on Twitter from these entities under the new agreement will be announced at a later date.

“Through this new agreement, participants from across the company will have the opportunity to create experiences unique to Twitter that will extend their brands in meaningful ways,” Justin Connolly, EVP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, said in a statement.

Travis Howe, SVP, platform ad sales strategy and global operations at Disney-owned ESPN, said social media has become the new primary vehicle to grow and engage audiences. ESPN, which launched standalone over-the-top video platform, ESPN+, is unveiling content agreements with Twitter in May.

“The insights to be gained will be invaluable as we continue to serve the right content and the right ads to the right people,” Howe said.

“To innovate at this scale with The Walt Disney Co. is a huge step forward in expanding the depth and breadth of video content we offer to leaned in, engaged consumers on Twitter,” said Matthew Derella, global VP of revenue and content partnerships, at Twitter.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sat on Disney’s board from 2013 until early this year when he resigned along with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.