Twitter to focus on video, commerce in business revamp

Twitter plans to focus on video, creator and commerce partnerships to revitalise the social media company's business beyond digital advertising

June 17, 2023 10:10 am | Updated 10:29 am IST

File photo of Twitter owner Elon Musk

File photo of Twitter owner Elon Musk | Photo Credit: Reuters

Twitter plans to focus on video, creator and commerce partnerships to revitalise the social media company's business beyond digital advertising, according to an investor presentation by owner Elon Musk and new Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino that was reviewed by Reuters.

Yaccarino, who started as CEO on June 5, told Twitter investors on Thursday that the company is in early conversations with political and entertainment figures, payments services and news and media publishers on potential partnerships, said a source familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private investor call.

The presentation was Yaccarino's first time addressing the company's investors, the source said.

After Musk acquired Twitter in October, the social media firm faced months of chaos, including layoffs of thousands of employees, criticism over lax content moderation, and an exodus of many advertisers who did not want their ads appearing next to inappropriate content.

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Musk's hiring of Yaccarino, a longtime advertising executive who modernised ad sales at Comcast-owned entertainment and news conglomerate NBCUniversal, was a signal that digital ads remained a priority for Twitter.

Some ad-buying firms had recommended their clients pause ad spending on Twitter after Musk's takeover. Those recommendations have been reversed and none of the major advertising holding companies are currently recommending a pause, according to a slide shown during the presentation.

Well-known brands including Warner Bros, Mondelez, McDonald's and Walmart have resumed advertising on Twitter after initial pauses, the slide said.

Yaccarino told investors that ad spending in several advertiser categories is now up at least 40% year-over-year, including health, consumer packaged goods and financial services, the source said.

A Twitter executive declined to comment.

Video and Commerce

Under Musk, Twitter changed its business name to X Corp., reflecting the billionaire's vision to create a "super app," like China's WeChat, that he has said would include digital payments and other services.

Twitter is applying for "money transmitter licenses" in all 50 U.S. states, according to a slide from the presentation.

The company has also focused on growing video content on the platform. Vertical video now accounts for more than 10% of time spent on Twitter, another slide said.

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson launched a new show earlier this month on the platform called "Tucker on Twitter."

Twitter envisions that it could sell ads and sponsorships alongside videos from Carlson and other content creators, the source said.

Yaccarino has also told colleagues in recent days that Musk has expressed strong support for her ideas and the working relationship was off to a positive start, the source added.

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