Amplifying Twitter

Twitter’s new Amplify product, in beta since the spring but given a big a big rollout Monday during Ad Week in New York,  is potentially a big deal, not just for Twitter but for online content publishers generally.

Amplify lets TV networks post short video replays from shows or live events in near real time. The video tweets are sponsored by a brand and revenue is split between Twitter and the network. Early network participants included ESPN, Turner Sports, the NBA and BBC America, but on Monday Twitter announced a major new deal with CBS covering 42 shows. In addition to the main network, the deal also covers streaming content from CBS.com, CBSSports.com, CBSSports.com Fantasy, CBS News, GameSpot, TVGuide.com, CNET and ZDNet.

Though Twitter is positioning Amplify as an advertising product, what it really is is a form of paid syndication. The value to the brand of an Amplify tweet comes not merely from the size of the audience but from data derived on the structure of the social graph that a particular tweet follows as it moves across various social media networks. As for the network, Amplify provides a mechanism to directly monetize disaggretated, unbundled (i.e. “chunked”) content.

In a sense, Amplify does for video what NewsCred and the New York Times’ Ricochet product are trying to do for print-based content. They provide a way for publishers to monetize disaggregated chunks of content as they are re-contextualized on social networks by renting that content temporarily to brands interested in engaging with those networks.

Given Twitter’s ubiquity and high visibility, however, Amplify is likely to draw more attention to the concept. If successful it could inspire more publishers (and entrepreneurs) to think about how they can make money by marrying specific pieces of content with specific brands or specific users and leveraging the value of social networks. It could represent a different model for paid content from the traditional paywall or pay-per-view model built on direct monetization of disaggregated content through the sort of ad hoc syndication that happens organically on social media.

 

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Paul Sweeting

Principal Concurrent Media Strategies

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