Digital Studio Launching First Twitter-Based Original Video Series (Exclusive)
Since Twitter launched in 2006, the platform has been more analogous to a bulletin board then a television set. Some 500 million active users take advantage of the service to correspond with each other or comment upon what's happening in society. Many brands leverage Twitter as an outlet for self-promotion. One thing Twitter hasn't been is a destination onto itself of professionally-created video content. It's not NBC. It's not even YouTube.
Believe Entertainment Group wants to change all that with the announcement of the first studio originated content series designed specifically for the Twitter platform. The New York-based digital studio is set to announce a new show called EpicEDM, featuring well-known DJs like Tiësto and Deadmau5.
What makes the series different is that BE Group will not be using Twitter to point its followers to another website like YouTube to see the content. Instead, it will be serving up new videos each week to be embedded on Twitter's platform. For the last several months in preparation for the launch, BE Group has been shooting footage and working with Twitter employees on new tools from the social-networking company.
"This is a conscious shift from using Twitter as a promotional platform to having Twitter just be the platform," says BE Group co-founder Dan Goodman. "If there is a way to integrate video and social onto the actual delivery platform, it's a huge win long-term."
Previous efforts by BE Group include The Lebrons, a digital series featuring NBA superstar Lebron James and Tiger Beat Entertainment, an AOL teen lifestyle show developed with Jennifer Lopez. Goodman and his partner William Masterson also worked on Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy, which has garnered more than 200 million views on YouTube.
Like many in the content industry, Goodman are thinking about consumer engagement. Unlike many others, however, they don't see the use of Twitter on a "second screen" like the iPad to be sufficiently forward-thinking. So they are experimenting with the idea that Twitter itself can be the broadcast medium.
For the subject of the forthcoming Twitter-based series, Goodman and Masterson chose EDM (short for "electronic dance music"), which has been around since at least the early-'80s, but has only recently hit mainstream popularity in the U.S. with acts like Skrillex, House Mafia and Afrojack. For years, electronic music was touted as the next big thing as skeptics wondered whether mixer-knob-twiddling could ever gain a mass following. Goodman attributes much of the burgeoning late success of the genre to Twitter. "By its very nature, EDM is a very social category with DJs working hard to bring people together," he says.
The look of the show won't be particularly revolutionary. The co-founders of BE Group say they were inspired by late 1980s' MTV, particularly the series Yo! MTV Raps. Their coming Twitter-based show, EpicEDM, will feature a similar mix of news, interviews and performances. Advertisements, too.
The difference comes in the distribution of the show.
BE Group already has the EpicEDM handle on Twitter, and at the moment, it's locked with protected tweets. When it's opened later in 2012, the page will have a slightly different look than what most people are accustomed to seeing when coming upon a user's Twitter page. BE Group will not only have the ability to stream video from its page, but will also use the way that brands currently "pin" promoted tweets to the top of the timeline to ensure its weekly show appears on the zenith of its feed with social interaction beneath.
In addition, artists like Tiësto and Deadmau5 -- BE Group says it is working with 40 of the biggest names in EDM -- will have the ability to take content segments and blast these videos to their own Twitter followers. "We'll see a more organic distribution of content," says Masterson.
In preparing for the launch, BE Group has been working with Twitter on new video- and promotional- tools the service has just rolled out or will be releasing soon. Goodman credits Twitter with helping the studio with suggestions on the best way in delivering video to its users.
“With thousands of musical artists on Twitter, the platform is a perfect destination for users to get access to the best real-time music content from artists, producers and fans," says Adam Bain, president of global revenue at Twitter. "We're excited to work with Believe Entertainment Group to deploy Twitter's Promoted Products to amplify the reach and engagement of their upcoming @EpicEDM series."
Naturally, such a project might raise questions about whether Twitter has any plans to become some form of competitive threat to YouTube, Vimeo and even video streaming hubs like Netflix and Hulu. For months, Twitter has been rumored to be speaking to producers within Hollywood on the creation of in-stream video series. One show that was being talked about this past summer was a Twitter-based reality show similar to The Real World, according to AdWeek. Twitter has also been said to be considering its own video-hosting technology, reports AllThingsD.
"They are careful about saying they are in the distribution, not content, business," notes Goodman about Twitter. "But we are impressed how directionally, Twitter can be engaging how content gets out there. We're hoping that the model can be applied to other kinds of content besides EDM."