Twitter's monetization efforts just got a boost: The San Francisco company, in conjunction with the National Basketball Association, has sold its first ads for live original sports video content, reeling in American Express and JBL Harman as sponsors.
Those brands will appear in and around programs called The Starters and The Warmup, which are athletic-minded shows produced by Twitter partner Turner Sports. The shows were announced in late October, and an episode of The Starters aired today in its weekly time slot at 11 a.m., while The Warmup runs on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.
— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) October 25, 2016
More generally, the Amex and JBL Harman sponsorships underscore Twitter's aim to cash in on cord-cutters who want to watch their programming online rather than via TV. Live sports content are central to that goal. And every move it can make, in that regard, should quell the unease of Wall Street investors. For the American Express and JBL Harman ad sales mentioned above, Twitter and the NBA split the revenue.
Lastly, here's how Twitter recently described the two shows:
"The Starters Twitter Show" will stream live on Twitter each Tuesday (11:00 am ET) throughout the regular season. Featuring co-hosts J.E. Skeets (@jeskeets) and Tas Melas (@TasMelas), along with contributors Trey Kerby (@treykerby), Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis), Matt Osten (@StartersMatt) and Jason Coyle (@startersjd), the program will deliver their trademark passion for the game with the same fun, entertaining, and engaging content that they provide each week on NBA TV and through their podcasts.
"The Warmup" is a blend of the NBA, lifestyle, music, and pop culture, and will be a weekly NBA pregame show that integrates Twitter conversation into every program. The 30-minute show will stream live from Turner Studios' new state-of-the-art social content studio beginning Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 pm ET and co-hosted by sports and entertainment commentator Ben Lyons (@iamBenLyons) and emcee, DJ and sports personality Ro Parrish (@RoParrish). Both personalities have a wide range of experiences across television, radio, social and digital content, including host and guest appearances on prominent national shows.