- Twitter lifts ‘permanent’ suspension of activist Barrett Brown Monday 5:52 PM
- Billie Eilish fans fend off objectifying comments on tank top photo Monday 5:32 PM
- Groom’s mother sabotages wedding by tricking guests into wearing jorts and hoodies Monday 4:39 PM
- No one believes Bill de Blasio’s son sent him these debate prep texts Monday 3:26 PM
- Meek Mill, Jay-Z to release ‘Free Meek’ documentary on Amazon Prime Monday 3:20 PM
- 3 ways to secure your Nest cameras Monday 3:15 PM
- This Pokémon generator site is creating hilarious monsters Monday 2:48 PM
- MrBeast impersonator tricks kid into destroying his XBox Monday 12:50 PM
- This mom has the perfect nickname for her nonbinary kid Monday 12:25 PM
- Netflix tests pop-out player that will allow viewers to multitask Monday 11:44 AM
- Man allowed to sue media publishers over readers’ Facebook comments Monday 11:42 AM
- Republicans slammed for joke about ‘heavily armed militia’ at Oregon statehouse Monday 11:30 AM
- New bill wants tech companies to tell you how much your data is worth Monday 10:53 AM
- AOC has the best response to Steve King’s ‘concentration camp’ criticism Monday 10:19 AM
- Did Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau just get engaged? Monday 9:26 AM
Twitter’s new Project Lightning could involve livestreaming major sporting events
Twitter is expanding its horizons.
When the NFL decided to make history this season by broadcasting one of its games solely on the Internet, Yahoo won the bid to live-stream the Week 7 contest between the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars. But in an interesting twist, Yahoo faced competition from an Internet upstart that is seeking a bigger name in real-time events: Twitter.
The microblogging service’s bid on the game, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, would have been part of a recently revealed initiative to make Twitter a destination for users and non-users alike major breaking-news events.
Project Lightning, which BuzzFeed revealed in an exclusive behind-the-scenes story, will “bring event-based curated content to the Twitter platform, complete with immersive and instant-load photos and videos and the ability to embed those experiences across the Web.”
The Journal expanded on Project Lightning with more information on how it will work.
In the project’s current form, a “live” tab, with a lightning bolt icon, will be placed on Twitter’s mobile app. Clicking on the icon will take a user to a guide of “events” that could include the premiere of a TV show, an NFL game, or a breaking-news event such as election results. Tapping on an event will surface full-screen views of videos, photos and tweets related to that topic — unlike the waterfall of tweets that currently appear in users’ timelines. Twitter said it will add editors to determine what content will go into the collections.
The design suggests a tweet aggregator for scheduled events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars and for breaking-news situations, like the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, where people want accurate real-time information.
“It’s a brand-new way to look at tweets,” Kevin Weil, a senior vice president at Twitter, told BuzzFeed. “This is a bold change, not evolutionary.”
Landing that Bills-Jaguars certainly would certainly have qualified as bold.
Though the NFL ultimately chose Yahoo—Re/code estimated that the company paid $20 million for the rights to broadcast the game and receive all the ad revenue—Twitter played up its huge audience (about 1 billion people see its tweets) and reportedly proposed a revenue split with the league.
The Journal writes that the NFL received about 12 serious bids, at least two of which proposed the idea of a pay-per-view livestream. While Twitter’s bid didn’t win, its “participation could perhaps keep it in the running for other content deals, such as the rights to broadcast live in-game highlights from the Jaguars-Bills matchup, which are still up for grabs.”
“There’s a beautiful connection to our strategy of reaching users on every platform,” Weil said. “It’s not just logged-in Twitter, it’s logged-out, and it’s syndicated on other websites and mobile apps. This reaches all of them. The collections are a core part of our logged-in experience — that’s the point of being in the center tab. But you can easily imagine them as logged-out experiences telling about something happening now out in the world. And you can imagine them — and this is new — as collections and syndicating them across any website or mobile app.”
Illustration by Max Fleishman
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.