Twitter users can now watch live 360-degree videos, according to Twitter’s blog post. All users can watch the new video format, but only an initial group of large broadcasters can post them via Periscope, the Twitter-owned live streaming app.
The new feature aligns perfectly with Twitter’s focus on live events and video, the latter of which represents the company’s number one ad format in terms of revenue. The launch is also necessary given competitors like Facebook and Instagram are investing heavily, and seeing early success with live videos. Here are some other implications of the launch:
- Live video technologies and capabilities may increase the interest of potential acquirers. Earlier this month, we published our top five digital media predictions for 2017, including a take-out of Twitter. Among them: Twitter’s renewed focus on live video will likely attract a large media company that lacks the technical expertise.
- Twitter and Periscope are becoming more tightly integrated. Twitter recently launched it’s “#GoLive” initiative, powered by Periscope, which allows users to post live videos directly to their Twitter feed. The functionality on either app is nearly identical, which could mean Twitter plans to integrate Periscope’s technology and features into the main app and shutter Periscope, just as the company closed down Vine in October. This also has the potential to catalyze an acquisition by creating a simplified technology portfolio and a large audience unified on one platform.
- An improved viewing experience for TV content. The new 360-degree functionality can drive increased viewership for Twitter’s NFL streams, which have started off relatively strongly. According to a recent survey from Nikon, 60% of US consumers think that professional sports and travel content in a 360-degree format would be better than traditional viewing on TV.
- A gateway to encourage VR. The blog post was written by Twitter’s Director of AR and VR, Alessandro Sabatelli, which could mean Twitter is working on immersive 360-live videos that are compatible with VR headsets.
While the new feature is a step in the right direction, Twitter is still facing an uphill battle with other live streaming giants like Facebook and YouTube. After all, Facebook incentivized the creation of live videos by paying 140 media publishers, celebrities and athletes over $50 million to create compelling live video content, according to The Wall Street Journal. Twitter will most likely have to rely on competitive revenue-share agreements as opposed to paying outright for content, as the social media app is currently not profitable, but plans to be in 2017.
Over the last few years, there’s been much talk about the “death of TV.” However, television is not dying so much as it’s evolving: extending beyond the traditional television screen and broadening to include programming from new sources accessed in new ways.
It’s strikingly evident that more consumers are shifting their media time away from live TV, while opting for services that allow them to watch what they want, when they want. Indeed, we are seeing a migration toward original digital video such as YouTube Originals, SVOD services such as Netflix, and live streaming on social platforms.
However, not all is lost for legacy media companies. Amid this rapidly shifting TV landscape, traditional media companies are making moves across a number of different fronts — trying out new distribution channels, creating new types of programming aimed at a mobile-first audience, and partnering with innovate digital media companies. In addition, cable providers have begun offering alternatives for consumers who may no longer be willing to pay for a full TV package.
Dylan Mortensen, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on the future of TV that looks at how TV viewer, subscriber, and advertising trends are shifting, and where and what audiences are watching as they turn away from traditional TV.
Here are some key points from the report:
- Increased competition from digital services like Netflix and Hulu as well as new hardware to access content are shifting consumers’ attention away from live TV programming.
- Across the board, the numbers for live TV are bad. US adults are watching traditional TV on average 18 minutes fewer per day versus two years ago, a drop of 6%. In keeping with this, cable subscriptions are down, and TV ad revenue is stagnant.
- People are consuming more media content than ever before, but how they’re doing so is changing. Half of US TV households now subscribe to SVOD services, like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, and viewing of original digital video content is on the rise.
- Legacy TV companies are recognizing these shifts and beginning to pivot their business models to keep pace with the changes. They are launching branded apps and sites to move their programming beyond the TV glass, distributing on social platforms to reach massive, young audiences, and forming partnerships with digital media brands to create new content.
- The TV ad industry is also taking a cue from digital. Programmatic TV ad buying represented just 4% (or $2.5 billion) of US TV ad budgets in 2015 but is expected to grow to 17% ($10 billion) by 2019. Meanwhile, networks are also developing branded TV content, similar to publishers’ push into sponsored content.
In full, the report:
- Outlines the shift in consumer viewing habits, specifically the younger generation.
- Explores the rise of subscription streaming services and the importance of original digital video content.
- Breaks down ways in which legacy media companies are shifting their content and advertising strategies.
- And Discusses new technology that will more effectively measure audiences across screens and platforms.
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