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Main article: Live video

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Topics from 1 to 10 | in all: 15

Twitter makes it easier to share the right part of a live video with launch of ‘Timestamps’

20:00 | 29 March

Twitter today is introducing a new feature that will make it easier to share a key moment from a live video, so those viewing the tweet don’t have to scroll to the part of the broadcast you want to talk about. The feature, called “Timestamps,” is something Twitter says it built in response to existing user behavior on Twitter.

Before, users could only tweet an entire live video . So, if they wanted to highlight a particular segment, they would tweet the video along with the specific time in the video where the part they’re trying to share begins.

Those viewing the tweet would then have to scroll through the video to the correct time, which can be cumbersome on longer broadcasts and challenging on slower connections.

For instance:

Skip ahead to 3:50 to see the moment Snow Geese take flight w/ Mount Baker in background.

— Mark Horner (@beyond90seconds)

The new Timestamps feature makes this whole process simpler. Now, when you tap to share a live video (or a replay of a live video), you’re able to scroll back to the exact time you want the audience to watch. You can then add your own thoughts to the tweet, and post it as usual.

But anyone seeing the tweet will start watching right at the time you specified.

If the video is still live, they’ll then be able to skip to what’s happening now by clicking the “live” button, or they can scroll back and forward in the video as they choose.

The new option ties in well with Twitter’s live streaming efforts, which has seen the company focused on offering live-streamed sporting events, news broadcasts, and other events.

For example, those live-streaming a sports match could re-share the same live video broadcast every time the team scores a goal, with the video already positioned to the right part of the broadcast to capture that action. That could increase the video’s number of viewers, which could then translate to better advertising potential for those live streams.

However, Twitter will not allow advertisers to place their ads against the Timestamped moments at launch, because they don’t want to get into a situation where an advertiser is positioned up against a moment that’s not considered ‘brand-safe.’

Beyond the sports-focused use cases, people could also take advantage of Timestamps to share their favorite song from a live-streamed concert, while reporters could highlight something important said during a press conference.

Twitter notes the Timestamps feature will be available to anyone – not just professional content publishers. It will also work for anyone doing a broadcast from their phone, and will support live videos both on Twitter and Periscope.

On Twitter, you’ll be able to share the live video as a tweet, while on Periscope you’re  able to share to your Periscope followers, in addition to sharing to Twitter or sharing as a link.

Timestamps isn’t the first feature Twitter built by watching how people were using its product. The company has a long history of adapting its product to consumer behavior as it did with the previous launches of @ replies, the hashtag, retweets and, most recently, threads. 

The update that delivers support for Timestamps is rolling out today on Twitter for Android and iOS, and Periscope.




Periscope ups payouts to broadcasters on sales of Super Hearts, adds holiday bonuses

19:01 | 1 November

Twitter’s Periscope is going after live broadcasters in a big way, as it’s now promising to give back more of their earnings from the sales of Super Hearts in their live video streams.

Introduced in June, Super Hearts are in-app virtual goods that offer a form of virtual tipping.

The idea is similar to Twitch’s or YouTube’s emotes, but instead of custom emoji, Periscope’s version offers fans the option to send different versions of the animated heart icon that can be shared by fans during video broadcasts.

At launch, Periscope offered three kinds of Super Hearts, including cheaper basic hearts covered in plus signs, a sparkly mid-range heart, and more expensive ones that included fans’ faces and that would explode. The program has since added one more heart type, a waving hand. Fans buy virtual coins to pay for Super Hearts through in-app purchases.

When Super Hearts were announced, Periscope said it would pay video creators 70 percent of the cash value for Super Hearts, and retain 30 percent for itself – after first accounting for the 30 percent tax that goes to Apple and Google on in-app transactions, of course.

Today, those payouts are changing.

Now the company says those in its Super Broadcaster program will retain all their earnings, minus a $1 “administration fee,” from the sales of Super Hearts. The $1 fee goes towards continual operation of the Super Hearts feature and will help offset the costs of monthly payment processing, says Periscope. (The company will first pay Apple and Google its 30 percent in-app purchase fee, as before, ahead of the payouts to broadcasters.)

To kick off these new payouts, Periscope is also offering holiday bonuses to broadcasters during the months of November and December which take into account the Super Heart’s coin value. (For every Super Heart a broadcaster receives, its coin value translates to cash they can later withdraw.)

During this month and December, those who earn one million or more stars per month will be offered a $100 bonus. Those who earn 3 million stars or more can earn an additional $250, for a potential total of $350 in bonus money. These bonuses will be calculated based on monthly earnings during the two months only, and will not include any pre-existing star balance.

Not every broadcaster on Periscope can earn money from Super Hearts. The ability to cash out from these rewards is only offered to members of Periscope’s Super Broadcaster program, also introduced earlier this year.

The program, which is only open to U.S. residents, requires broadcasters have at least something of a presence on the platform. They need to have had an active account for 30 days, a minimum star balance of 185,000, and have to have created at least 5 broadcasts in the last month, with an average of 50 live viewers and 75 replay viewers per public broadcast.

With the change in payouts, it appears that Periscope is aiming to boost demand for its Super Hearts program in general, even at the expense of its own revenue. That could be a necessary move on Periscope’s part, not only because Periscope broadcasters haven’t seen Super Hearts as a way to make any serious money on the platform, but also because of the increased competition in live streaming.

Today, Twitch and YouTube, are dominating the live streaming market in terms of both viewers and broadcasters, especially in the esports realm. Twitch in particular has been on a roll as of late with its expanding array of monetization tools, like game sales and added subscription tiers. It also made its revenue-generation tools available to tens of thousands of smaller broadcasters through the Twitch Affiliate program, launched this spring.

That said, a recent report from Streamlabs found that Twitter’s Periscope saw an 80 percent jump in concurrent viewers during Q3 2017, which could indicate the platform is beginning to pick up steam.

Twitter declined to say how many total broadcasters have adopted Super Hearts, or the dollar amount of total sales to date.

“While we can’t provide numbers, we have seen interest from a variety of creators, and the community involved continues to grow,” a spokesperson said.

The new payouts are live now.



Maestro gives gamers and big brands new tools to manage and control their live streams

16:05 | 7 September

From Twitch to Facebook to Periscope, live streaming is a growing phenomenon that’s making some decent money for the people who own the platform. For the actual people recording the streams and making things happen, not so much.

Maestro, a Los Angeles-based company is looking with a toolkit for capturing data and analytics, and engaging with viewers in live streams, has raised $3 million in a new round of funding to give more control to the companies and individuals that are actually making the streams, rather than the companies that are hosting them.

Especially as the audience for watching eSports grows, live streaming will take a bigger share of the media marketplace, according to some analysts and industry observers, and that means more money for whoever can best engage with the new audience.

It was the eSports market that initially attracted Hersh Investment Group, the family office investing on behalf of Kenneth Hersh, a billionaire oil and gas investor who also backs the Texas Rangers.

Like other owner-investors in traditional sports, Hersh is becoming more active in the eSports market and the firm sees Maestro as a way to control more of the streaming experience for fans that may want to watch his esports team EnVyUS and to get more information about those fans.

Additional investors in the round included 500 Startups from its Los Angeles based growth capital initiative and from the Stanford StartX Fund and Rubicon Venture Capital.

In all, Maestro has raised $5.8 million with previous money coming in a $2.8 million seed investment led by 500 Startups LA-based partner Andrei Marinescu, and included Scrum Ventures, Three Six Zero Group, and Walden Venture Capital partners Larry and Drew Marcus.

The company has initially focused its attention on the gaming market and has created branded destinations for live streams for Sony PlayStation, Microsoft, Pokemon, Warner Bros. Games, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Wargaming, ESL, Dreamhack, and ELEAGUE (just to name a few).

“Maestro’s rapid penetration within esports supports our thesis that publishers, leagues, and teams will increasingly seek ways to connect with their audiences through branded experiences they control. The product’s strategic design provides a framework for continued innovation and value creation to propel the industry forward as it evolves,” said Randy Chappel, Managing Director of HIG, in a statement.

But the company insists that its toolkit can be used for more than just gaming, already signing up The Grammy’s and Coachella as partners as well. Any livestream can benefit from Maestro’s tools, which can include polling, micro-games associated with the stream, and other communication tools for fan engagement.

Just as importantly, the data that these live-streaming fans provide stays with a company, instead of being captured by a platform like Twitch, Twitter, or Facebook.

The Startup Battlefield alumnus and 1st and Future finalist said it will use the money to boost its sales and marketing efforts and target new industries.

“As sophistication around streaming becomes the norm, the new metrics revolve around quality of interaction, retention, and attribution to the bottom line. We’re excited to enable businesses around the world to create robust, long-term live streaming strategies through their own destinations,” said Ari Evans, founder and Chief Executive Officer, in a statement.



HBO NOW’s app has pulled in $19 million since the “Game of Thrones” premiere

20:03 | 24 August

The “Game of Thrones” effect is in full force for HBO NOW, the premium network’s streaming service for cord cutters. According to new data from app intelligence firm App Annie, the iOS and Android versions of the HBO NOW mobile app have together generated $19 million in U.S. revenue for the two months containing the airing of “Game of Thrones” Season 7, as of Monday, August 21.

App Annie says it expects HBO NOW’s mobile apps to pull in well over $20 million by the end of the month.

The show’s outsized popularity has again sent the HBO NOW app flying up the Top Revenue charts on the iOS App Store, too. Roughly one month after the Season 7 premiere, HBO NOW became the number one app in terms of Overall iPhone revenue. It grabbed that spot on August 16th, 2017, and remained the top app by revenue for two more days.

According to a separate report from Sensor Tower, HBO NOW grossed approximately $2.6 million across iOS and Android on August 16th – a 41 percent increase over its prior record of $1.3 million on June 24th, 2016. That was the last time HBO NOW had claimed the top spot for Overall iPhone revenue. The date was two months after the Season 6 premiere, and two days before the final episode aired.

In case you’re wondering, HBO NOW doesn’t hit the Top Grossing charts as soon as “Game of Thrones” returns because of how the billing cycle works. You’ll notice that August 16th is roughly a month after the premiere, which is also when subscription billing kicks in.

That being said, HBO NOW still saw a massive bump thanks to “Game of Thrones” for the Season 7 premiere. As we reported in July, the start of the new season drove half a million HBO NOW app downloads in Season 7’s first week, and a 3x increase in revenue.

HBO also said at the time the show was the most-watched premiere in the network’s history, and it had broken HBO’s streaming records with the highest number of concurrent viewers to date across HBO NOW and HBO GO.

In addition to scoring the top spot on iPhone, when HBO NOW’s iOS and Android revenue is combined, it also snagged the number one spot by revenue on August 16th across both mobile platforms. In doing so, it surpassed both Pandora and Netflix, which typically claim the top two positions. And HBO NOW maintained this number one Top Grossing ranking through August 20th, says App Annie.

There’s also some indication that mobile users are more engaged with “Game of Thrones” this season, compared with the last. App Annie notes that HBO GO and HBO NOW have both seen 40 percent more time spent per day in the Android apps in the U.S., compared with the daily time spent when “Game of Thrones” Season 6 was airing back in 2016.

The firm is predicting that over the course of Season 7, U.S. users will spend well over 10 million hours in HBO GO and HBO NOW, just on Android.

Featured Image: HBO



Twitter inks live stream deals for Wimbledon, Comic-Con coverage, and more

17:53 | 30 June

Twitter is continuing to grow its live streaming business, with a series of new deals announced over the past week or so, including a partnership that will bring live streams from the floor of the San Diego Comic-Con in July, as well as behind-the-scenes action and news from Wimbledon, among several other efforts.

You may recall that Wimbledon was the first live-streamed sport to pop up on Twitter’s network last year, after the company had announced its $10 million deal to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games. The Wimbledon coverage wasn’t then heavily promoted by Twitter, and was instead seen as more of a test of how live streaming would work across Twitter’s platforms.

How times have changed. In the year since, Twitter has delivered a slew of live streamed sports, sports-related programming, news, concerts, and other events to its service, including streams from the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NLL, college sports, even esports, and many more.

This time around, Twitter’s Wimbledon deal is with the The All England Club, not ESPN, which is partnering with Twitter to live stream The Wimbledon Channel during the event. This coverage will include daily content, like news and interviews, behind the scenes footage, and “selected action” from the matches. (In other words, you can’t watch the matches in full, live).

The addition is one of several deals Twitter has announced over the past couple of weeks. Another notable partnership is with IGN, which will live stream from the huge entertainment event, San Diego Comic-Con 2017, via The media company will broadcast up to 13 hours of live coverage from the show floor from July 19 through July 22, Twitter says.

This will include interviews from ABC, AMC, DC, Lionsgate, Marvel, Netflix, Starz, TBS and others, including live pre- and post show commentary from IGN hosts and special guests. The coverage will also be augmented with trailers, behind the scenes footage, interviews with actors and producers, cosplay worn by attendees, and more.

The deal represents an expanded relationship between Twitter and IGN, which most recently used the social network to broadcast coverage from the esports-focused event, the 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in L.A.

Other recent deals will bring more sports to Twitter as well, as the company is snapping up access to more niche programming, like that from the Canadian Football League (CFL), the Arab world’s inter-club football, and the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).

And previously this summer, Twitter live streamed other events of significance, like James Comey’s Congressional Testimony via Bloomberg and Ariana Grande’s One Love Manchester benefit concert, for example.

Though a continued focus on live streaming is helping Twitter to better deliver on its mission to be the network where you go to find out what’s happening now, it’s also facing heavy competition from live streaming rivals and other major tech companies when it comes to scoring the sort of flagship coverage people actually want to watch. (Canadian football is not it.)

For instance, earlier this year, Twitter lost the NFL deal to Amazon, which reportedly paid $50 million for the rights, or five times more than what Twitter had paid last year. That’s led to some criticism of Twitter’s efforts in the live streaming space, with pundits saying that it just won’t have the funds to keep up with today’s major players – it will be outbid on the better live stream deals, that is, and left to pick up scraps.

In response to the loss to Amazon, however, Twitter partnered with the NFL on its own live video deal that includes news and highlights, but not games. This may not be the best NFL content, but it does fit in with Twitter’s news-focused reputation. It is, after all, where news breaks, is discussed, and where a large number of journalists generally hang out.

Still, some of Twitter’s recent announcements do make it appear that it’s doubling down on sports’ long tail and other smaller events that lack mainstream appeal. The company said in May it has 200 premium live video partnerships, which seems to back up the assumption that it’s doing a ton of “small potatoes” deal.

But while you can dismiss the individual deals as being non-consequential, the cumulative effect – or, at least Twitter hopes – is that people will begin to think to check Twitter to see if something is being live streamed. And if Twitter can gain mindshare around live video even without deals as big as NFL games, that could long-term help boost its other metrics – like signed-in users, ad dollars, and more.

Featured Image: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images



Amazon expands Amazon Channels to UK, Germany, taking aim at pay-TV users

13:30 | 23 May

The race to control the TV is on, and today comes some news out of Europe underscoring Amazon’s ambitions in that department. The e-commerce giant announced the launch of Amazon Channels in the UK and Germany — its two biggest markets in the region — which will see Amazon, for the first time, offer close to 50 live and on-demand streamed channels to the region as part of its Amazon Prime service.

This is not just the first time that Amazon will offer live TV in Europe, tapping into what remains the most popular format for TV viewing in the region, despite the insurgence of on-demand content via the internet. Notably, Amazon Channels will be the first time that many popular channels like Discovery will be available for people to pay for and watch without subscribing to a larger, more expensive bundle of channels through a pay-TV provider like Sky or BT.

In other words, this will let Amazon squarely target consumers who are tired of paying high monthly premiums and are considering “cord-cutting.” Prices for each channel on Amazon Channels will range from £1.49/month to £9.49/month, with many coming in at around £3.99-£4.99. I’m asking Amazon what kind of cut it will get from this and will update as I learn more.

“For the first time, Prime members in the UK and Germany will be able to choose to watch premium TV channels without having to sign up to a bundle or a contract, giving them the freedom to pay for only what they want to watch,” said Alex Green, MD, Europe, Amazon Channels, in a statement. “From live sport to Bollywood, arthouse cinema to reality TV, and award-winning TV shows from popular channels like Discovery and ITV, Amazon Channels gives power back to customers to choose exactly what they want to watch.”

While cord cutting has been a pretty significant theme in the U.S. market, in the U.K. and Germany there have been precious few options for people to pick and choose what they want to watch, with most people instead getting tied into large packages, or taking nothing at all.

Amazon Prime, for background, is the company’s all-in-one subscription (£7.99/month or £5.99/month for just video in the UK; €8.99/month or €7.99/month for video in Germany), and as in the U.S., Amazon throws in lots of things to tie people into paying for it each month and using Amazon for their various shopping needs. These days, this includes free and fast shipping, and entertainment like Amazon Music and Prime Video.

And as with other Amazon video services — and unlike some others like Apple TV — there is no shortage of ways to consume Amazon Channels. You will be able to access Amazon Channels via Amazon’s Prime Video app, as well as the Amazon Video app on smart TVs, iOs and Android mobile devices; Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets; games consoles; and finally through the good old world wide web. (Oh, and if you believe the reports, possibly through Apple TV soon, too.)

This is a somewhat slow rollout of Amazon Channels, which first launched in the U.S. back in 2015 with the significantly less catchy title of Amazon Streaming Partners. It comes on the heels of Amazon already offering a sizeable number of titles on demand either directly or through third-party partners. Launching Amazon Channels in Europe gives Amazon a direct line for providing content itself. It follows a number of other moves that Amazon has been making in the areas of video, entertainment and TV. These include:

  • Amazon’s launch of the Echo Show earlier this month — its Alexa voice-powered home hub with a screen — which we noted at the time looked like a small screen TV and felt like a very significant step towards making an actual TV set.
  • Amazon’s growing relationships with more established pay-TV providers — for example, its integration with Dish TV in the U.S. announced yesterday, which lets you control your Dish service with your voice.
  • Amazon’s sizeable original content efforts, producing its own films and TV shows. Earlier this year the company picked up its first Oscars.
  • Amazon ramping up its live events business with music concerts, and tying these in with a video component. As with so much of Amazon’s new efforts, this is rolling out as a perk for Prime subscribers.
  • Amazon’s reported interest in bidding for broadcast rights for sports like tennis and rugby.

While other new players in the TV arena like Facebook and Twitter have secured deals in sports broadcasts in recent times, we have yet to hear of anything from Amazon. I say watch this space… literally and figuratively. Notably, the launch of Amazon Channels today includes the Eurosport channel, which already broadcasts coverage of the French Open tennis tournament and the Tour de France bicycle race (a personal favorite of mine).

The Eurosport launch, and the bigger Amazon Channels move, both high an important point, perhaps just as significant as Amazon’s obvious strategy to keep adding more services to Prime to attract more subscribers (a strategy it’s been following for years now).

By offering Amazon Channels, it’s giving the company — a veritable vacuum and conjurer when it comes to big data — a direct line to being able to observe what it is that people like to watch. This, in turn, will help Amazon itself build up ideas for what areas it can move into next — be it securing sports rights, ideas for what original content it might want to produce next, or perhaps deciding what to try to sell to you.

On the part of broadcasters, having Amazon wade into the TV fray with Amazon Channels is probably coming just at the right time. Companies like ITV — a commercial, terrestrial channel that is the largest broadcaster in the UK in terms of overall weekly viewers — have long been looking for ways of boosting its numbers and recapturing more users who have turned away from traditional, linear TV and now opt to watch video on demand on their tablets or computers, or TVs connected to the internet.

“The ITV Hub is all about giving viewers more choice about how and when they access their favourite ITV shows, including watching without the ads via ITV Hub+ for £3.99 per month,” said Simon Pitts, ITV Managing Director, Online, Pay and Interactive, in a statement. “We’re delighted to be part of the Amazon Channels launch line-up in the UK.”

While pay-TV companies have long held the upper hand when it comes to offering consumers these channels and the on-demand components behind them, now the broadcasters will have one more way to bypass this and stand apart from noisy bundles.

“We are delighted to bring our premium factual and sports content to Amazon Prime members. This partnership underlines our strategic ambition to reach people across every screen,” Susanna Dinnage, president of Discovery Networks UK and chief content officer, international, said in a statement. “Amazon Prime members can now experience the shows that are loved by Discovery fans as well as enjoy an exciting summer of sport which is about to kick off on the Eurosport Player.”

I’ll be looking forward to seeing just how well this is used. If it’s up to Amazon, as with so many other sales and audience figures in its wider product universe, I’m not expecting to see any hard numbers for viewing, although hopefully this will get picked up by some of the analytics firms who track TV viewing.

Below is the full run-down of channels in the UK. For you are interested in the German list, you can find that here.

  • Acacia TV – Hundreds of fun and effective workouts for every fitness level for £5.99 a month
  • Alchemiya – Great films and documentaries about Muslim culture and life for £3.99 a month
  • Arrow Video – On demand cult classics and horror from Arrow Films for £4.99 a month
  • BFI Player+ – On Demand classic British and critically acclaimed movies for £4.99 a month
  • BeFit UK –  Get fit fast with unlimited streaming of hundreds of workouts for £5.99 a month
  • Comic Con HQ – Fan-favourite films, original programming, exclusive access and more for £4.99 a month
  • Curiosity Stream – Exclusive documentaries from the world’s best filmmakers in HD for £5.49 a month
  • Daily Burn – On Demand and live workouts including dance, strength training, yoga, cardio and more for £9.99 a month
  • Discovery – Documentaries and unscripted entertainment from Discovery for £4.99 a month
  • Eurosport Player – Live and On Demand sports programming, including Grand Slam tennis, cycling and winter sports for £6.99 a month
  • Fandor – A hand-picked collection of the most talked about indie, foreign and classic films for £3.49 a month
  • Filmbox – Hollywood movies, favourite evergreens and popular series for £3.99 a month
  • Full Moon Features – All the Full Moon classics and new releases on demand for £3.99 a month
  • Gaia – Yoga, nutrition, meditation and more for £7.99 a month
  • Horse & Country Play – The home of equestrianism and British country lifestyle, now on demand for £3.99 a month
  • ITV Hub+ – Watch live, download your favourite ITV shows for offline viewing, and catch up on tons of ad-free episodes for £3.99 a month
  • hayu (NBC Universal) – On Demand reality TV programming including Keeping Up with the Kardashians for £3.99 a month
  • Heera – An Amazon-exclusive on demand channel with over 600 Bollywood, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telegu movies and series including blockbusters like Sultan and Kabali for only £3.99 a month
  • Hopster – Make screen time smart with safe, ad-free content for kids for £3.99 a month
  • Ketchup TV – Hundreds of episodes of shows for kids, packed with their favourites for £2.29 a month
  • Love Nature – Ad-free, family friendly nature documentaries on demand for £3.99 a month
  • MGM – Hollywood hits, timeless classics and cult favourites movies from MGM for £4.49 a month
  • Motorvision – On Demand TV dedicated to the automotive world including car reviews & tests, motorsports and lifestyle shows for £2.99 a month
  • MUBI – A new, critically acclaimed movie to stream every day for £5.99 a month
  • Nautical Channel – The network focused on sailing lifestyle, available live and on-demand for £3.99 a month
  • Nordic Noir and Beyond – The best thriller, crime and drama series from the Nordics and beyond for £4.99 a month
  • Panna – Easy-to-follow video recipes from master chefs and cooking courses for £1.49 a month
  • Pinoy Box Office – Filipino movies and series on demand for £1.99 a month
  • Planet Knowledge – Exciting and informative HD documentaries on nature, history, culture and more for £2.29 a month
  • Pongalo Next – Latin American movies and series on demand for £2.99 a month
  • Qello Concerts – The greatest concert films from icons and new artists like The Who, Queen, The Beatles, Muse and more for £5.99 a month
  • Realeyz – Independent films by award-winning filmmakers on demand for £4.99 a month
  • Rooster Teeth – Original sci-fi, gaming and comedy for £3.99 a month
  • Shudder – Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder super-serves fans of thrillers, suspense, and horror for £4.99 a month
  • Studio Universal Classics – Classic movies from Universal Studios for £3.99 a month
  • Sweatflix – Stream HIIT workouts and yoga flows for £9.49 a month
  • Tastemade Plus – Our network of Tastemakers bring great food and travel to the world for £1.99 a month
  • The Great Courses Signature Collection – A curated collection of educational courses On Demand for £5.49 a month
  • UP Family – Entertainment for the whole family for £3.49 a month
  • Viewster Anime – ad-free anime on demand from Viewster for £2.99 a month
  • Yoga Anytime Channel – HD yoga videos on demand for £6.99 a month



Twitter brings its TV app with live video to Roku

20:00 | 4 May

On the heels of Twitter’s plans to significantly expand the amount of live streaming video content on its network, the company today is bringing its big-screen video app to a new platform with its launch on Roku devices. The arrival comes over half a year after the TV app was first introduced on Apple TV, Fire TV and Xbox One, and will offer a similar experience that combines live video alongside top tweets.

The Roku launch is a significant expansion for Twitter’s TV app, as Roku today has 14 million active user accounts across both its streaming players and TV sets, as of of the end of March.

Roku says the new app will offer the same live streaming video that’s live on Twitter, including its original programming and live simulcasts in sports, entertainment, news and politics. And like the version already available on other platforms, Roku users will be able to see tweets from Twitter’s network alongside the video they’re watching.

Twitter and Roku worked on the new app together, which is similar to those on other platforms, though it doesn’t offer Periscope support.

Twitter recently announced a number of new deals for video content, including one with Bloomberg which will begin streaming 24/7 news broadcasts on Twitter starting this fall. These will include a mix of live news reporting and video that’s posted on Twitter by users, which Bloomberg will curate and verify to augment its own content.

The company also detailed a number of other deals at its first-ever NewFront presentation in New York this week, including new and expanded sports deals with the WNBA, MLB, NFL, PGA Tour, Player’s Tribune, and Stadium Network, as well as news and entertainment deals with Verge, BuzzFeed, Cheddar, Viacom, Dick Clark Productions, Propagate, IMG Fashion, and Live Nation.

Combined, the deals get Twitter to its earlier stated goal of being able to offer users 24/7 live video content, and help to cement Twitter’s place as a company that’s not just a social network, but one that’s also news and information channel of its own.

With all this video to watch, the Roku Twitter app will allow users to pick and choose which stream they want to watch, Roku says. Users can select any of the live events that are running, regardless if they’re streaming at the same time.

“The Twitter channel on the Roku platform brings together the video and related conversation that surrounds live events to the largest screen in the house,” said Ryan Troy, product manager at Twitter, in a statement about the launch. “Our new channel gives Roku’s audience an easy way to watch live events and see what people are talking about, keeping them connected to what’s happening.”

The new Roku app will be available as a free download starting today in the Roku Channel Store and won’t require users to have a Twitter account in order to use it. The app will work on all Roku devices, including TVs.



Twitter partners with Live Nation to livestream video of concerts

02:43 | 2 May

Twitter might have killed off its Music app but now it’s working with the world’s top concert promoter. Today at the NewFronts conference in New York, Twitter announced it is partnering with Live Nation to exclusively livestream video of concerts. Artists including Train, Portugal The Man, August Alsina, and Marian Hill are slated to have shows streamed on Twitter. The first will be Zac Brown Band’s performance, that will air on Saturday May 13th.

As for why the deal makes sense, Twitter tells me “7 out of 10 of the most followed Twitter users are musicians, and Billboard’s Grammy Awards live pre-show was the most viewed entertainment live stream on Twitter to date.”

“Our partnership with Twitter allows us to amplify the live music experience creating a tool for artists to reach millions of fans around the world” says Jordan Zachary, Chief Strategy Officer for Live Nation. “Through Twitter’s product suite, fans will be able to be immersed in the live experience and interact with each other in real time as they watch some of the year’s most exciting concert events.”

The announcement is part of Twitter’s new slate of live premium video content that will include MTV Awards shows and coverage of Fashion Week in New York, Paris, London, and MIlan. Twitter has also announced that it will produce and host a 24/7 streaming news network with Bloomberg that will start airing this fall. The Cheddar news network’s Opening Bell, The Verge’s Circuit Breaker, and BuzzFeed’s Morning Feed will have shows on Twitter live video as well.

“Music has always been one of the most Tweeted about topics on the platform, and now fans around the world will be able to experience concerts live on the same platform where they talk about what’s happening in music” says Twitter COO Anthony Noto.

Now Twitter says it has 200 premium live video partnerships. So basically, anything that people talk about that looks good on camera, Twitter wants streaming in its app. The content could give new or lapsed users a good reason to be on Twitter while also bringing in dollars for lucrative video ads. Twitter has always been where the world dissects the live events everyone watches together on TV. Now it wants to

Some questioned Twitter’s commitment to its live video strategy after the NFL Thursday Night football game streaming deal it struck last season was instead won by Amazon this year. But with today’s announcements, Twitter seems intent on doubling-down on its position as the second screen by trying to become the first screen too.



In push for more live video, Twitter officially announces the Producer API

19:16 | 21 March

Confirming earlier reports by The Information and here at TechCrunch, Twitter officially announced the launch of a new tool for live video aimed at larger media publishers and broadcasters. The Producer API, as it’s called, will allow professional publishers to connect their equipment to Twitter in order to stream live video directly to its network.

Twitter had previously launched Periscope Producer last fall, which allows creators to live stream video content from devices like professional cameras, satellite trucks, VR headsets, desktop streaming software and elsewhere. This was a step up from Periscope’s earlier value proposition — individual users “going live” from their phones to stream straight to Twitter. Instead, the software offered a way to use professional equipment in order to stream higher-quality, more polished videos.

Twitter says that since Periscope Producer’s launch, it saw the total number of Producer broadcasts nearly double quarter over quarter.

The new API is meant to expand upon that earlier offering, to make the Producer service easier to use for publishers and broadcasters. Instead of having to connect external hardware, software, cameras and web services via the app, the API lets third-party applications authenticate Periscope accounts, configure streams, start and stop broadcasts and publish live video to Twitter.

Along with the news of the API, Twitter announced that Telestream (Wirecast software), Livestream (Mevo camera), Switchboard Cloud (web platform), and Teradek (video encoders and software applications) as beta API partners who can help broadcasters use the new technology in various ways.

For example, Wirecast’s software lets broadcasters go live from live camera feeds, phones, computer desktop or web services, then add elements like live switching, animated titles, transitions and lower thirds. Meanwhile, the Mevo camera can send live video to Twitter and Periscope anywhere there’s Wi-Fi or an LTE signal. Switchboard’s Cloud lets broadcaster publish to Twitter and Periscope, as well as other social networks.

Other partners listed on Periscope’s page include Brandlive, Grabyo, LiveU Solo, Giroptic iO 360,, NewTek, Inc., Telescope and Vidpresso.

More broadly, the idea with the new API is to open the doors to bigger companies that can help Twitter fill its network with interesting things to watch — giving users more of a reason to launch the Twitter app, and giving advertisers more of a reason to pay for placements within the video content.

To date, Twitter has been negotiating with larger publishers and broadcasters in a series of one-off deals to expand its lineup of live video.

This has included a number of sports deals, as with the NFL for its Thursday night games, as well as with Pac-12 Networks for university sports, the NBA, the MLB, the NHL and, most recently, the NLL (lacrosse). It has also partnered with those more in the entertainment space for things like e-sports competitions and red carpet events, as well as with news organizations like PBS and CBS for political coverage, to name a few.

But with this API, Twitter is throwing the doors open to any broadcaster that wants to stream to Twitter in order to raise brand awareness or boost its audience, without having to first negotiate with Twitter for the rights to live stream to the network.

Essentially, Twitter’s new Producer API is an answer to Facebook’s own Live API, which is today offered to news organizations, brands, celebs and other developers as a means of live streaming video to Facebook on mobile and web.

Twitter’s entry could have some appeal to those in the live events business or news publishers, because Twitter’s brand is associated with breaking news and other real-time content more so than Facebook and other social networks.

Despite this move, Facebook will remain fierce competition for Twitter as the live streaming space heats up. The social network recently struck a deal with Major League Soccer and Univision to bring live soccer games to its network and has paid top publishers like CNN and BuzzFeed to create live content on its platform.

Those interested in early access to the Producer API can sign up for the private beta here.



Twitter launching Live video API tomorrow

01:52 | 21 March

Twitter is about to make it much easier for media publishers to post live video broadcasts with the launch of a live video API tomorrow morning. The API will let companies hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to Twitter with more powerful integrations than Twitter’s existing Periscope Producer feature.

The forthcoming API was first reported last week by The Information. Now TechCrunch has learned the exact launch date is tomorrow morning and that Telestream, Wirecast, and Livestream Switcher are amongst the API partners that will help publishers use the API. Twitter declined to comment for this story

Our source indicates that Twitter’s Live API will work similarly to the Facebook Live API that launched last April to connect professional equipment to the social medium. Big video cameras, editing boards, desktop editing software, satellite vans and more will be able to broadcast directly to Twitter through the API.

This functionality goes deeper than Periscope Producer, which merely provides a destination URL where users can send video from software like OBD or Wirecast. While Periscope Producer was designed to attract semi-pro web vloggers to Periscope without complicated engineering requirements, the Live video API will be much more customizable for larger publishing enterprises.

Twitter added the ability to broadcast live straight from its main app in December, after downloads of its dedicated live-streaming app Periscope fell off. It also has been signing deals to license big news and sports events like Thursday Night NFL games. But its Live content pipeline is still thin, and the Live API could be flexible enough to encourage broadcasting.

The launch raises the question of whether Twitter will stay committed to keeping Periscope its live video app, or if it will roll more of the broadcasting and livestream browsing into its main app.

Twitter is the natural home for live video, not Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. It’s always been about now. This API could use convenience to offset its smaller scale and lure content creators and owners to put their first screen inside Twitter’s second screen.


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