Twitter continues TV push with purchase of SnappyTV

Steven Loeb · June 19, 2014 · Short URL:

SnappyTV allows organizations to edit, share, and archive live video and TV programming in real time

It's no secret that the second screen is extremely important to Twitter's future. The company spent much of the last year doing everything it could to incorporate television into the network.

Twitter was not done yet, though. It has gone out and acquired live video-editing startup SnappyTV, it was announced via a blog post from Twitter on Thursday. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

SnappyTV offers a suite of tools that enable organizations to edit, share, and archive live video and TV programming completely within the cloud. The platform enables organizations to create, distribute and measure real-time promotional messaging delivered via social media channels.

"Messages are sent by the millions during prime time shows, live sports and breaking news. When you bring in social interactions around live streams, conferences and other events, this number grows exponentially," SnappyTV writes on its website.

"SnappyTV powers the clips of the biggest moments for sharing to the biggest audiences brought to you by the biggest brands."

According to Twitter, SnappyTV is already "widely used by brands and our media partners to share video clips on Twitter," and the two companies have worked together "into Twitter’s real-time conversation, straight from the TV to your mobile device."

Now that it has been acquired, the two companies will work even more closely together to "help partners and brands bring the best videos into the conversation, when it matters most."

On SnappyTV's end, the company will be able to enhance its product by using Twitter's resources.

"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 wrote in a separate blog post. "Joining Twitter will allow us to provide an even better product and bring the platform to more content owners and event organizers throughout the world. We will be able to further our goal of empowering people to share the world’s best moments."

Twitter and television

As I said earlier, Twitter has been making a big effort to incorporate live television into its feed.

Twitter premiered its TV ad targeting software in beta mode in May of last year, and then expanded to to all U.S. advertisers that run national television spots in July. The technology allows advertisers to engage directly with people on Twitter who have been exposed to their ads on live television. 

It works by identifying Tweets that correspond with that television show. Because the person was engaged enough to tweet about it, the company figures that they watched the ads as well (which, in all honesty, is a bit of a leap. It is more likely they were sending the tweets in question while the ads were playing). Twitter will then push out promoted tweets that extend those advertisements.

In addition, Twitter strengthened its position with TV advertisers by showing them, in a Nielsen study released in August of 2013, that tweets can drive higher ratings for their shows, and that those shows caused a spike in tweets. TV and Twitter, it seems, have something of a symbiotic relationship.

Twitter also made a number of acquisitions in this space as well.

It purchased real-time TV data company Trendrr to help make those ads more relevant. Then, in March of this year, it made two more social television purchases: Mesagraph, a French real-time search and discovery platform for social media; and SecondSync, a provider of social TV analytics solutions to the UK TV and Advertising industries.

Neither Twitter, nor SnappyTV, could be reached for further comment.  

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.