Twitter Is Partnering With CBS to Livestream Convention Coverage

July 11, 2016, 2:01 PM UTC
Donald Trump
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Photograph by John Minchillo—AP

Fresh off its recent experiment in broadcasting live coverage of the Wimbledon tennis finals, Twitter said Monday it will be streaming live video provided by CBS from the upcoming Republican and Democratic national conventions, where both parties will be choosing their presidential candidates.

Twitter has been placing an increasing focus on live content—specifically live video. To date, most of its efforts have been related to sports, with the most high-profile announcement being its $10 million deal with the NFL to stream live Thursday night football games. That deal was announced earlier this year.

The company has also reportedly been talking to as many as 10 other sports leagues and other providers about streaming live coverage of various events, and it was said to be looking for political coverage as well.

“Twitter is the fastest way to find out what’s happening in politics and to have a discussion about it,” said Twitter’s chief financial officer, Anthony Noto. The convention livestream will “give people around the world the best way to experience democracy in action,” he said.

Twitter provided a glimpse of what its livestreaming could look like last week when it broadcast live coverage of tennis from Wimbledon, although it described the test as “an extremely early and incomplete test experience.” The video stream appeared in a dedicated window, with tweets related to the event scrolling in a window next to it.

The stream—which didn’t include actual live tennis matches but had replays, interviews, and analysis—was essentially a re-broadcast of a digital stream that ESPN and Wimbledon put together, which was also available on both of their websites. It’s not known whether Twitter paid either of its partners for the content.

In a similar way, Twitter’s political coverage won’t include the core TV coverage from partner CBS, but rather will be a simulcast of content from CBSN, the network’s digital unit, which is available on its website as well as through other platforms such as Apple TV (AAPL).

Twitter has been increasingly focused on live content and specifically on video as a way of trying to increase the amount of time users spend with the service, and of appealing to new users. The company’s inability to increase its user base has been weighing on the stock price (TWTR), which is down more than 40% over the past year.

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Twitter isn’t the only one focusing on live video, however. Facebook (FB) has also been putting a lot of its resources into pushing its Facebook Live platform, which recently garnered a lot of media coverage when it was used during a police shooting in Minnesota and during a protest in Texas that left several police officers dead.

Snapchat has also become a huge player in video over the past year, making deals with a number of traditional media companies for its Discover platform, and YouTube (GOOG) has signaled that it is looking to expand its YouTube Red subscription service as well.