Will Live Keep Twitter Alive? Don't Count On It

After recently wondering aloud what next for Twitter, there comes the headline that following this week's IAB Engage events -- the social network is focusing on live events. My question of whether Twitter could survive without a suitor or a clear strategy (as yet) for monetising attention seems to have been answered. But is that the way forward? Live events?

The Campaign article refers to Twitter's NFL deal, but then also mentions Premier League football. It may be a picky point, but it's worth mentioning that Twitter doesn't own any Premier League rights. It is the channel through which users can see goals after they have been scored and highlights of games via Sky Sports. I don't want to be a party pooper here, but I -- and I'm sure many others -- already get access to this content via Sky's stand-alone "Football" app.

Other than that there is a mention of the Melbourne Cup which, I guess, might attract some interest. I have no idea whether it's available online via a sports channel but there would certainly be interest from serious racing fans, particularly Australians living abroad.

It could be just me, but what exactly do Twitter and its users get out of any of this? I've had my fair share of live video experiences on Twitter and Facebook and they are usually pretty lame pieces of shaky footage. Even coverage by a professional tv station or big brand can leave a lot to be desired, even if there are thumbs up and emojis flying across the face of the screen. I just thought there was an unwritten deal. Professionals video something and then show us the best bits? It saves us time, and we get to snack on what went on rather than have to endure the whole thing. 

It's different with captivating live events, but why would anyone need Twitter for something they can get elsewhere? OK, so maybe the NFL deal will get fans outside America checking in on the action. Again, I wonder if this is not going to be coverage available elsewhere. Why would people go to Twitter and sift through all the detritus in their feed to find the live coverage? 

Maybe this will work for niche events that don't get coverage either on television or through a well-known broadcaster's Web site or app. It will also appeal to big brands that want to cover live events, such as a fashion catwalk show, but this can already be done via Twitter and Facebook.

Am I missing something, then? What live event would you turn to Twitter to view? What unmissable action is out there waiting to be snapped up? Isn't the answer that the major big sports events, at least, are spoken for and the material that will pull in the big numbers is already watchable elsewhere? If it is made available, won't it be a case of rights holders using Twitter as another channel? 

It's a cliche, but it's very true. Content really is king, and if you don't own any rights to it, but are simply the window through which it can be viewed, it's hard to imagine live events constituting any part of a turnaround at Twitter.

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