Twitter has been making an effort for some time to streamline and simplify its interface to make its social media platform more accessible to new and more casual users, and it is doing the same in the backend of its service. In the latest development, we have confirmed that Twitter is preparing to wind down SnappyTV, a service it acquired in 2014 for quickly clipping, editing and sharing live video clips on Twitter and other social platforms.
In its place, Twitter plans to bring several of SnappyTV’s features into Media Studio, a dashboard for businesses and power users to upload, schedule and manage media tweets that looks like it might have been launched about a year ago.
Reports started to emerge earlier today about the company’s plans to sunset SnappyTV. By coincidence one of our social team had also been asking Twitter some questions about video features in the last week, and received a reply with SnappyTV detail earlier this morning.
“I’m not sure if you’ve heard but we are winding SnappyTV down and shifting key features to Media Studio so there is one destination to create, cut, share, and monetise video,” the employee at Twitter said (we’re keeping her name out as she’s not a spokesperson). She added that there would be more details to share soon. A spokesperson for Twitter has declined to comment.
In addition to the key “live cutting” feature that is the core of SnappyTV’s service, Twitter plans to add other features to the Media Studio that were not a part of Twitter Video nor SnappyTV, such as the ability to include SRT files (video caption files).
What is less clear is what Twitter might change. Currently, SnappyTV and the Media Studio are both free to use, and it is unclear whether Twitter plans to charge for it in future. Similarly, it’s not known whether Twitter will let users continue to create clips that can be posted elsewhere beyond Twitter.
As Digiday, which first reported the rumor that SnappyTV would be shutting down, noted, one of the key benefits of the service was that it was free and quick to use. Other workarounds for creating video clips cost more, or take up more time, or both.
This is not the first time that Twitter has pared down products in recent times. The company also committed itself to paring down some of its ad products, it transitioned Fabric over to Google, it wound down use of its “buy” button as it downgraded its commerce ambitions, it shut down a lead generation product, and in the area of video, there is, of course, the winding down of Vine.
But media — and video in particular, and even more specifically, live video — has been highlighted as a key area that Twitter wants to develop as it looks to bring more growth to its business. Video not only carries more valuable advertising, but it is a medium that has been proven to drive more engagement from viewers, which is a metric that Twitter wants to see grow to help boost overall usage metrics on the site.
Twitter will be reporting its quarterly results on the 27th, in two days, and there will probably be some more questions and discussions then on the progress the company is making in its efforts to position itself as a media player then. We’ll update this post in the meantime as we learn more.