Another new hire for Twitter was announced today, but this one is tied more closely to its big push into live video as part of its efforts to differentiate itself from other platforms.
Twitter COO Anthony Noto said today that the company has hired Todd Swidler as its global head of Live Business. Most recently he was at ESC Games as CEO, but prior to that was the global head of Video Distribution and Partnerships at Bloomberg — the latter of which partnered with Twitter to offer streaming video news earlier this month.
Twitter is making a hard push into live video, but it’s going to have to figure out a way to monetize that if it’s going to figure out how to attract advertisers as a unique product compared to other video services like YouTube or Facebook. With Twitter’s ad business stalling, it can’t just rely on telling advertisers it’s a real-time communications platform where they can show ads. It has to demonstrate that it offers value beyond that in ways that it can not only grow users, but keep them deeply engaged and get the right ads in front of them.
The company has worked to sign more and more video deals, such as one with the NFL for live content that doesn’t include games. Twitter bought Periscope more than two years ago, but with the company’s user growth stalling since co-founder Jack Dorsey took over as CEO and its stock price cratering, it’s had to look into new areas to hit its sweet spot of interactions around live events. It may have lost its deal to stream NFL games, but it seems clear that Twitter is trying to further woo potential advertisers with the opportunity to advertise live against millions of potential viewers.