Last November, there was an official Twitter announcement stating that they were developing a native video service. They intended to release this service within the first six months of 2015. Twitter wants to become a full media platform, and this native video player is an important element of their overall strategy. Although they did not reveal too many details when the revelation was made in November, the veil seems to be lifting now.
We now know that the player will allow videos of no more than 10 minutes to be hosted. There will be no limit on the actual file sizes. Additionally, once it is launched, the player should support mov and mp4 files, although it is likely that Twitter will expand on this. The most important thing, however, is that the new player will not support any videos that are hosted on YouTube, or on any other platform. As such, only videos hosted on the Native Video Player will be shown.
Interestingly, these details were never officially released. They were simply stumbled upon by a Twitter user who was curious about what things would look like. The user went to the restricted access page http://video.twitter.com, which is under development and will be the page through which video content can be published. This particular user found that the page contained an extensive FAQ about Twitter Video, as well as the terms of service.
In November, Twitter released details about its very ambitious plans. They described their vision of the new service, which was supposed to be above and beyond the capabilities of the Vine app. Additionally, it should offer more than the feature currently offered by Twitter, which allows users to watch videos. This was explained by Kevin Weil, VP of Product at Twitter.
Aside from just watching video more easily on Twitter, you should be able to record, edit and share your own videos natively on Twitter too. Alongside short looping Vine videos, we think you’ll have fun sharing what’s happening in your world through native video.
Commercial partners and advertisers will be allowed to use the Twitter Video Player. However, access to third parties to the player cannot be sold. Additionally, other advertisements, promotions or sponsorships cannot embed it in their projects. This is to ensure that users will be able to have an enjoyable experience. Furthermore, users will have a certain degree of control in terms of how they can see the video on their timeline. A customized thumbnail will be provided. Furthermore, Twitter has set a limit of 10 minutes for each video, and they expect every second of this time to be of real quality. This is also why there has not been a set video size limit.
At this time we do not have a file size limit when uploading. As such, we are encouraging partners to use the highest resolution source video, to create the most optimal user experience. However, keep in mind that the larger the source file, the longer it will take to upload and process.
As such, users are being encouraged to ensure the bit-rate of the source video is as high as they can get it. Indeed, the minimum recommendation is 5000k bits. The bit rate for audio should also be at least 128k. However, the original source material should set the frames per second, and this should be fully preserved.
Naturally, any video should be able to get Tweeted from the dashboard of the Video Player. However, there are no plans yet to allow for scheduling. But Twitter does want to ensure that their commercial partners are able to benefit greatly from the tool as well. Hence, a video can either be sent directly to every follower of the poster, or it can be hidden as per personal specifications, thereby allowing commercial partners to use it as part of an advertisement campaign they are running on Twitter.
It is very interesting that Twitter has started with this video offering now and not later. The development has turned heads not just within the company itself, but also on the wider video streaming market. Twitter has been fighting to ensure they can find a format that attracts both more users and more premium advertisers in order to promote their platform. We know that video is one of the most attractive formats out there. They engage users on a website and it is a form of advertising that more closely resembles television advertising, something that we are all still used to. Indeed, video advertising is more attractive on a psychological level, which is why premium advertisers are so interested in it. To date, they still focus most strongly on television advertising.
YouTube still is the true video player giant in the world today. They are also working on a number of projects to see how they can offer a wider range of services to both their advertisers and their users. For instance, they are now allowing GIF creation (in direct competition with Twitter’s Vine) and autoplay options, so that it more closely resembles television viewing. Twitter hopes that they will be able to take a piece of the YouTube pie through their new video player.
It is interesting to see that Twitter will forbid any usage of YouTube videos. This points to the fact that they really want to build an inventory all of their own. This could mean that advertisements here are more lucrative, turning Twitter into a truly standalone platform.
In order to provide the best experience for the user we require that all videos be uploaded and hosted by Twitter. The same video that was uploaded to YouTube can also be uploaded to Twitter, but you cannot reuse the YouTube URL with the Twitter video player.
Of course, it is very difficult to create a true opinion on the new player, as we cannot see it yet. We don’t know what it will look like or how user friendly it will be. However, fingers are certainly twitching and people are on tenterhooks waiting for the official release.