Twitter announced its latest numbers for Q1 2017 this morning, and while its revenue made for grim reading, dropping 8 percent year-on-year, the company gave investors a little bit of good news — its monthly active user (MAU) base had grown by 9 million people (6 percent) on the previous quarter.
Tying into this growth is Twitter’s continued push into premium live video, as the social network strives to increase its stickiness particularly for those not signed-in to a Twitter account. In its latest letter to shareholders, the company says that it streamed more than 800 hours of live premium video in Q1, emanating from more than 450 events, and reaching 45 million unique viewers (logged-in and logged-out). Compared to 600 hours and 31 million viewers on the previous quarter, representing a growth of almost one-third, this too seems like a notable increase, but it may not tell the whole story. Indeed, a single unique viewership is defined by a video being at least 50 percent in-view on a user’s screen for at least two seconds, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that 45 million people watched an entire livestream, however the same criteria was used to define viewership in Q4 2016, so it does still hint at increased engagement.
Notably, 60 percent of its unique viewers were based outside the U.S., while 55% were under the age of 25 — to garner this data, however, Twitter could only use those who were logged in to their accounts.
Twitter has been turbocharging its efforts to becoming something akin to a global TV network, and last wear won a number of notable rights to stream premium content, including Thursday night NFL games, while it also partnered with BuzzFeed for a U.S. presidential election livestream, Disney for a live event around the launch of the new Star Wars movie, and the PGA for some golf coverage. Since then, Twitter has inked some other major video deals across sports, esports, and politics, and in Q1 it said that more than half (51 percent) of its viewing hours was for sports, while more than a third (35 percent) was news and politics.
It’s also worth noting here that Twitter is gearing up to being producing original content, so video will continue to play a core part in Twitter’s growth strategy moving forward. “We have made major investments in video over the past few years, and being able to present the breadth, depth, and quality of that content at Newfronts (IAB’s digital content conference) is the ultimate culmination of those efforts,” explained Twitter’s vice president of global revenue and operations, Matthew Derella, last month. “In 2017 and beyond, we are investing further in the video viewing experience, content development and collaborations, and video solutions for advertisers…”
Part of Twitter’s question to move into video involves taking over the livingroom too, and last September it launched a dedicated live video app for platforms including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox One.