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June 23, 2014

Twitter's SnappyTV Buy Signals a Tactical Shift


Twitter has agreed to acquire SnappyTV, which makes a platform for TV networks, brands and other media partners to live clip, edit and distribute video clips on social media including Twitter, both organically and via Twitter Amplify, the social specialist’s advertising platform. The move certainly shows the company’s hand when it comes to future positioning in the marketplace—and takes the platform into a new evolutionary space.

The idea is to offer a simple way to push out TV content and monetizable second-screen fare to mobile devices in real time—a move that enhances Twitter’s status as a TV engagement booster.

“As we continue to invest in video, it’s important for us to provide tools that make it easy for TV broadcasters, businesses and event producers to share high-quality videos,” Twitter said in a blog post.

The microblogger has been partnering with content and media companies for the last couple of years already on special campaigns around certain shows. For instance, last fall it announced a wide-ranging plan with CBS to use the service as an echo chamber of sorts for second-screen CBS content. For instance, after 60 Minutes wraps on Sundays, CBS pushes out a promoted clip summarizing the show, called “60 Minutes In 60 Seconds.” That clip is sponsored, which adds the monetization element. The partnership involves 20 of the company’s brands and 42 of its shows, including CBS News and online properties like CNET and Gamespot.

That deal and others like it are part of Twitter’s Amplify program, which takes aim at the social TV opportunity with advertisers by debuting real-time, dual-screen sponsorships and in-Tweet video clips from broadcasters. The four-year-old SnappyTV will add a specific mobile dimension to the strategy, which Twitter will integrate to better offer reach to its 250 million monthly active users.

Twitter said that it will retain SnappyTV’s ability to post videos to other platforms as well, which gives it additional revenue tendrils for other social TV efforts that it didn’t have before. It’s possible to consider a comprehensive media campaign that leverages Facebook, Twitter and YouTube via one unified contract with SnappyTV.

“When we created SnappyTV four years ago, we believed in the importance of mobile, as a way for people to share important moments, and in the value of social, so that people could experience those moments together,” SnappyTV said. “With Twitter we will continue our commitment to maintaining an open platform for social broadcasting of live events, across a variety of digital platforms. Joining Twitter will allow us to provide an even better product and bring the platform to more content owners and event organizers throughout the world. We will be able to further our goal of empowering people to share the world’s best moments.”

Twitter has so far reaped no small amount of success with its social TV strategy. According to Nielsen, the Twitter TV audience for an episode is, on average, 50 times larger than the authors who are generating tweets. For example, if 2,000 are tweeting about a program, 100,000 people are seeing those Tweets.

“Over the past two years, the growth in Twitter activity around TV shows has been nothing short of remarkable,” Nielsen said. “Tweets about live TV and the number of Twitter authors talking about TV programming are both increasing in double-digit fashion, steadily broadening the landscape at a record pace.

It added, “And with this extraordinary growth has come opportunity.”

Twitter certainly wants to waste no time seizing that opportunity, and the SnappyTV buy signals a shift for the company from organic growth to a more tactical approach to user engagement. “Together, we’ve worked with the biggest content partners in the world to inject the best video content into Twitter’s real-time conversation, straight from the TV to your mobile device,” Twitter said of the deal. “Twitter users have watched goals, slam-dunks, amazing shots, and touchdowns –– as well as red-carpet moments, award show performances, news clips and funny moments –– right from a Tweet in their timeline.”




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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