Twitter Adds New Features as It Experiments With Sponsored Live Video

Marian Hill concert shows new functionality

Twitter continues to bet big on video.
Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images

Twitter is experimenting with new ways to get people to tune in to live video.

At its NewFronts event earlier this month, the company announced a deal with Live Nation to livestream concerts exclusively on the microblogging site starting with the Zac Brown Band on May 13. Twitter will stream its second concert at 8 p.m. ET tonight with songwriting duo Marian Hill in a broadcast sponsored by T-Mobile.

To promote the concert, Twitter is experimenting with a few new features within tweets. On Sunday, the band’s account posted a tweet reminding users to tune in for the concert.

Within it, a reminder button prompts users to set an alert to watch with a countdown clock. Clicking on the button triggers a push notification once the concert is live.

There’s also a new line of copy that reads, “Sponsored by T-Mobile” along the bottom of the tweet when viewed on mobile. Twitter didn’t clarify whether upcoming sponsored concerts will also be labeled, but it’s not a stretch to expect future livestreams to be marked as sponsored.

Tonight’s Marian Hill concert also includes a branded time line that groups all of the chatter about the event into one landing page and a “bumper card,” which is essentially a two- to three-second slot that describes what the event is before the copy fades away and the broadcast begins.

“As we continue to build out new live video experiences, we are experimenting with a few new features and working closely with brands to find the best opportunities for them to participate,” a Twitter spokeswoman said in an email.

The new features are the latest examples of Twitter’s big bets on video. In the first quarter of the year, Twitter had 800 hours of programming, up from 500 hours in the fourth quarter of 2016. The site also announced a handful of partnerships with measurement companies, including Moat and Integral Ad Science, to expand its third-party measurement efforts in April.