Twitter and ViacomCBS announce global content partnership, plans for Twitter ‘Watch Parties’

Twitter and ViacomCBS today announced a sizable global deal that will see the social media platform streaming digital content from across the ViacomCBS portfolio of news, sports and entertainment brands — including content from live events, TV shows and other franchises. In addition, ViacomCBS-owned streaming service Paramount+ will host three “Twitter Watch Parties” designed to capitalize on Twitter’s ability to serve as a second screen and a home to fan communities and conversations.

The companies did not specify which Paramount+ shows would be hosted as Watch Parties, only noting that they would be original series.

The content partnership represents a significant expansion of Twitter’s prior deal with the media giant. Before, Twitter’s deal had been a U.S.-only partnership with just Viacom, ahead of the ViacomCBS merger. The renewed agreement is now a multi-year, global deal and expands to include the entire ViacomCBS portfolio. That means it also now includes news and sports, instead of only entertainment properties, as before. The companies declined to detail the financial terms, however.

The ViacomCBS umbrella today covers a wide range of brands, such as BET, CBS Television Network, CBS News, CBS Sports, Channel 5, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Network 10, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network and Telefe.

In recent months, Twitter and ViacomCBS have partnered on select live events, including the 2021 MTV Music Video Awards, which aired its live pre-show on Twitter, and the BET Awards, which livestreamed from the red carpet to Twitter. It’s likely that under the new agreement, Twitter users will gain continued access to these types of events. As for which other properties and programs will be featured on Twitter in the months ahead, ViacomCBS would not say.

While the new agreement is focused on hosting digital content, it will also involve Twitter’s marketing support. The ViacomCBS programs will be eligible for both marketing support and brand sponsorship sales through Twitter’s Amplify program, which connects ViacomCBS’ video with Twitter’s paid reach and targeting, the company said. ViacomCBS will also leverage other marketing features around live video, real-time highlights and Twitter Moments.

Twitter in previous years had heavily focused on its ability to serve live video content to its users, by doing things like pinning live video to the top of the Timeline, offering livestreamed events and concerts, and more. But over time, news of those types of partnerships dwindled. Twitter even shut down its own livestreaming app Periscope to focus more on its new set of social features, like Fleets, Spaces, Communities, Super Follows and others.

But Twitter is again doing deals to make digital content a part of its core offering. In early 2021, for example, NBCUniversal and Twitter announced their own global, multi-year partnership, similar to this with ViacomCBS.

“We’re thrilled to extend our long-standing relationship with Twitter in this expansive global deal that brings together the full ViacomCBS portfolio and magnifies the scale and scope of our valued partnership,” said Andrea Wolinetz, SVP, Distribution & Business Development-Streaming at ViacomCBS, in a statement. “Twitter is the digital water cooler for trending topics and fandom worldwide, and we’re excited to provide front-row access to innovative digital content experiences and culture-defining moments across the best of entertainment, news and sports for Twitter users everywhere.”