Reblogged from GigaOM, by Mathew Ingram
Twitter is reportedly in talks with Hollywood producers and network executives about creating one or more reality-style TV shows that would be integrated into the network — but if it does decide to do this, the company risks alienating its core users and diluting its fundamental value.
There’s been plenty of debate recently about the extent to which Twitter is a media entity and/or a technology business, but there is little question that the company sees its future as controlling more and more of the content that flows through its network — in other words, building walls around the garden of real-time information. And now there are hints that Twitter wants to not just curate or filter content through deals with media players like NBC, but is considering developing its own content: according to AdWeek, it is working with Hollywood players on a TV show or series of shows that would be integrated into the network somehow.
While doing this might appeal to advertisers and bring in revenue, however, it could take Twitter further away from what many users see as its core value.
The AdWeek report says that Twitter is in talks with “multiple Hollywood producers and network execs” about possibly launching several original video series on the network, with at least one show debuting later this year as a proof-of-concept to attract advertisers. The idea is described by “sources with knowledge of the discussions” as being similar to MTV reality shows like The Real World, where participants would presumably interact with viewers via Twitter — and the video content would live on a separate page similar to the NASCAR project Twitter did recently, or the NBC Olympic news hub that is expected to launch soon.
A desire for ad revenue could lead Twitter astray
As the AdWeek story makes fairly clear, this effort — which we haven’t yet been able to confirm — would be driven primarily by a desire for advertising revenue. According to the magazine, Twitter is aiming to land sponsorship deals for its original shows that would be in the neighborhood of $4 million a pop. AdWeek says the video features would include “product integration” as well as promoted tweets, and that the idea would be to have Twitter users influencing the content of the show in some fashion (something that has been done at least once before through a partnership with an advertiser).
I confess that when I read this report, my heart sank a little. For me, and I think for many other Twitter users, the network has been an incredibly efficient and increasingly important feed of real-time news from people I am connected with somehow, as well as other sources that are valuable to me — whether it’s reports about the revolutions in Egypt or a tsunami in Japan.
Unfortunately, it seems that being a real-time information utility, as valuable as it might be to me, isn’t valuable enough in terms of the revenue it produces for Twitter, and so the company is looking for other avenues that will translate into a bigger payoff. And that apparently means TV… [Full Story]