October 3, 2013

Key Twitter IPO S-1 Take Aways for Media, News & Partners

James Neufeld by James Neufeld

Our team at SAM has been reviewing the S-1 Form which Twitter filed today. We’re highlighting key elements for News, Media & API reliant companies. The full document can be viewed here.

Twitter mentions Television 42 times (TV 5 times, Broadcast 5 times), Media Outlets 28 times, News 27 times  in this document. This sets one of the key themes throughout the document. Twitter frequently boasts about mainstream media coverage of Tweets and sees the media as a key part of it’s eco-system and growth.

“Tweets have appeared on over one million third-party websites, and in the second quarter of 2013 there were approximately 30 billion online impressions of Tweets off of our properties.”

“Platform Partners.    Millions of platform partners, which include publishers, media outlets and developers, have integrated with Twitter, adding value to our user experience by contributing content to our platform, broadly distributing content from our platform across their properties and using Twitter content and tools to enhance their websites and applications. Many of the world’s most trusted media outlets, including the BBC, CNN and Times of India, regularly use Twitter as a platform for content distribution.”

“Although we do not generate revenue directly from users or platform partners, we benefit from network effects where more activity on Twitter results in the creation and distribution of more content, which attracts more users, platform partners and advertisers, resulting in a virtuous cycle of value creation.”

Twitter describes one of their four core value propositions as follows…

“Breaking News and Engaging in Live Events.    Users come to Twitter to discover what is happening in the world right now directly from other Twitter users. On Twitter, users tweet about live events instantly, whether it is celebrities tweeting to their fans, journalists breaking news or people providing eyewitness accounts of events as they unfold. Many individuals and organizations choose to break news first on Twitter because of the unique reach and speed of distribution on our platform. As a result, Twitter is a primary source of information and complements traditional media as a second screen, enhancing the overall experience of an event by allowing users to share the experience with other users in real time. We believe this makes Twitter the social soundtrack to life in the moment.”

They continue to describe core value proposition to their platform partners as…

“Complementary Real-Time and Relevant Content.    Twitter enables platform partners to embed or display relevant Tweets on their online and offline properties to enhance the experience for their users. Additionally, by enhancing the activity related to their programming or event on Twitter, media outlets can drive tune-in and awareness of their original content, leveraging Twitter’s strength as a second screen for television programming. For example, during Super Bowl XLVII, over 24 million Tweets regarding the Super Bowl were sent during the game alone and 45% of television ads shown during the Super Bowl used a hashtag to invite viewers to engage in conversation about those television ads on Twitter.”

“Building with Twitter Content.    Platform partners leverage Tweets to enhance the experience for their users. Developers incorporate Twitter content and use Twitter tools to build a broad range of applications. Media partners incorporate Twitter content to enrich their programming and increase viewer engagement by providing real-time Tweets that express public opinion and incorporate results from viewer polls on Twitter.”

Twitter lists three core elements to their growth strategy. No surprise, Traditional Media is part of this.

“… We believe growth in our platform partners is complementary to our user growth strategy and the overall expansion of our platform.

  • Expand the Twitter Platform to Integrate More Content.    We plan to continue to build and acquire new technologies to enable our platform partners to distribute content of all forms.
  • Partner with Traditional Media.    We plan to continue to leverage our media relationships to drive more content distribution on our platform and create more value for our users and advertisers.”

They go on to lists key risk factors and how to avoid them. It’s interesting to point out (perhaps obvious) it’s crucial for Twitter to make sure their users contribute high value to content to the platform. It their words a risk is “influential users, such as world leaders, government officials, celebrities, athletes, journalists, sports teams, media outlets and brands or certain age demographics conclude that an alternative product or service is more relevant;”

Something we found amusing (We know we’re taking this out of context) is that Twitter describes the standard issue risk disclaimer “Our business is subject to the risks of earthquakes, fire, power outages, floods and other catastrophic events, and to interruption by man-made problems such as terrorism.” which are also the exact situations in which Twitter thrives.

Overall we found the filling very insightful and positive towards media and a more clearly defined platform partner eco-system.


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