Twitter, ESPN partner for ad-supported sports video highlights

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Twitter is teaming with sports media giant ESPN to offer ad-supported video highlights posted moments after live action unfolds across ESPN's family of networks.

The Wall Street Journal reports Disney-owned ESPN plans to post Twitter highlights spotlighting events ranging from NCAA football to qualifying matches for soccer's World Cup 2014 to the network's X Games extreme sports competitions. Users can view highlights via Twitter's mobile applications and website, and ESPN will sell ads running inside the video clips, sharing revenues with Twitter.

"We want to be able to push ESPN's content wherever sports fans are," said Eric Johnson, ESPN's executive vice president of multimedia sales. "Twitter is a great opportunity for us to do that."

ESPN and Twitter first teamed on video highlight trials late last year, recruiting Ford Motor Company to sponsor game-changing moments from the network's college football broadcasts. ESPN said the highlights were viewed more than 7 million times.

Twitter executives are in talks with other broadcasters, including CBS and NBCUniversal, to explore additional opportunities for collaborating on digital video efforts distributed across the Twitter platform, with each side selling ads to accompany the clips. Twitter is pitching networks on the idea that videos can drive viewership by convincing users to turn on the television for the remainder of the broadcast--programmers also can reward viewers who've already tuned in by offering exclusive Twitter clips.  

"There is certainly a lot of interest from broadcasters," Glenn Brown, Twitter's head of promoted content and sponsorships, told the Journal. "Video is very popular on the Web; it's what our TV partners are good at doing, and it's an area that ad partners are most interested in."

Twitter passed the 200 million monthly active user milestone in late 2012. Research firm comScore reports that 53.6 percent of unique Twitter users access the platform via mobile device. Twitter is on pace to generate global advertising revenues of $582.8 million in 2013, with mobile ads yielding 53 percent of that total, or $308.9 million, research firm eMarketer forecasts.

For more:
- read this Wall Street Journal article

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