Twitter to Buy Video Startup SnappyTV in Media ExpansionJing Cao and Pui-Wing Tam
Twitter Inc. is buying video-editing startup SnappyTV to make it easier for television broadcasters and others to share videos of their shows and events on its microblogging service.
SnappyTV’s technology for editing and live clipping is already widely used by media companies that Twitter works with, the San Francisco-based company said in a blog post today. The deal will enable TV broadcasters, event producers and others to more efficiently edit, distribute and share video on Twitter, the company said. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
“As we continue to invest in video, it’s important for us to provide tools that make it easy for TV broadcasters, businesses, and event producers to share high-quality videos,” Baljeet Singh, Twitter’s director of product management, wrote in the post.
For Twitter, which is under pressure to add more members and improve engagement after user growth decelerated over the past few quarters, TV programming and live events are a powerful route to get more into the mainstream. Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal used video clips on Twitter to boost interest in the Winter Olympics this year. Programs like “The Voice” on NBCUniversal ask viewers to vote via Twitter. People also often tweet about games like the Super Bowl during the event.
Twitter has been increasing its video features to appeal to media companies, which are using the service to interact more directly and in real time with their viewers. Twitter in April added messaging to its Vine video application and last year incorporated a tool for advertisers to let them target users posting about television shows.
“Twitter is where television viewers come to talk about what they’re watching on TV when they’re watching it,” Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive officer, said last year about an earlier TV-related product. “Millions of users are exposed to the live conversation that unfolds on Twitter while a show is on the air.”
Chloe Sladden, who ran and had built up Twitter’s media team that works with television companies and live events, stepped down earlier this month following the resignation of Chief Operating Officer Ali Rowghani.
Twitter shares rose less than 1 percent to $38.90 at the close in New York. The stock has declined 39 percent this year, compared with a 6 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
The SnappyTV deal will help boost Twitter’s online advertising business, said Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Nomura Securities.
“The media companies are trying to partner with Twitter in a way that helps to engage viewers in the best way possible, and if viewers are engaged in rich media, it’s a win-win for Twitter and brand marketers,” he said in an interview. “The more premium video that the platform offers to the viewer, the more the brand marketers want to put their own ads next to that content.”
SnappyTV, based in San Francisco, was founded by former Yahoo! Inc. general manager of video Mike Folgner four years ago. The company was already working with Twitter, as well as other companies including Google Inc.’s YouTube, according to its website.
“With Twitter we will continue our commitment to maintaining an open platform for social broadcasting of live events, across a variety of digital platforms,” the company said in a blog post.
Carolyn Penner, a spokeswoman for Twitter, declined to comment.