Twitter is in the middle of a moment of uncertainty. The company has a deal to sell itself to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, but while that deal is pending (it needs shareholder and regulatory approvals, etc.) it has to be business-as-usual for the social media firm.
“It has been a quiet month at Twitter, so there is no better time for all of us to get together,” JP Maheu, head of global client solutions for Twitter, joked at the start of the company’s upfront presentation at New York’s South Street Seaport. The company took over an event space, creating interactive set pieces highlighting events like the Olympics, and topics like gaming and crypto.
But the show had to go on.
And so it is that the company announced a flurry of new content partnerships Wednesday, tied to the presentation. A core piece of the pitch to advertisers will sound familiar to those tracking Musk’s interest in the company: Twitter has simply become the go-to public square.
“The Twitter timeline is where highlights hit first. It’s the place people come to watch, debate and participate in the biggest moments across sports, news, gaming and entertainment every day,” said TJ Adeshola, Twitter’s head of global content partnerships.
Consistent with the company’s priorities, the content partnerships are focused on video and audio content, with a heavy emphasis on live events, where timeliness is critical.
One of the biggest announcements was a deal with Fox Sports, kicking off with this year’s World Cup from Qatar. The deal will see Fox launching pre-match programming and in-game previews, led by Fox Sports talent. The programming will be open to sponsorships.
E! News will launch a new live-streamed show on the platform, While You Were Streaming, hosted by Danielle Robay. The series will feature discussions and highlights from selected streaming and TV series, with coverage planned for Stranger Things, Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Real Housewives, among other programs.
And the company said that it struck a deal with E!’s parent company NBCUniversal, in which Twitter “will be the first social partner to test an integration with iSpot, NBCU’s first cross-platform video certified measurement partner.” The goal is to give certain NBCU advertisers additional data around their campaigns.
The other deals include an expanded partnership with Condé Nast, including Vogue’s Red Carpet at the Met Gala, Vanity Fair Oscar Party Red Carpet, the Pitchfork Music Festival, as well as regular Twitter Moments and Spaces.
There is a partnership with Essence, which will include Twitter Spaces content, and video from the Essence Festival of Culture and the Global Black Economic Forum.
The company also announced an extension of its content deal with the WNBA, and a deal with Diddy’s Revolt. Twitter also said that it “will allow advertisers to promote and run preroll on live event pages featuring real-time highlights, expanding the reach of that content on the platform.
“At the heart of advertising is a desire to not just reach consumers, but to connect with them around something they care about. Twitter Amplify helps brands get there,” said Robin Wheeler, Twitter’s vp of U.S. client services. “When advertisers tap into Twitter’s premium video content, they are aligned with the topics that our uniquely engaged audience is already obsessing over. Premium, brand-safe content that serves diverse communities is more important than ever today. We’re grateful to find new ways to expand this inventory on Twitter, giving our advertisers and marketers a place to drive incremental reach and results.”
Of course, with Musk signaling support for more paid offerings, and fewer advertising revenue sources (Tesla, famously, does not buy any advertising), what happens when and if his purchase goes through remains uncertain for now.