Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Twitter is planning to run content sponsorship deals with more than three dozen news outlets, media companies and sports leagues in the first half of this year, according to a schedule of events shared with ad partners and seen by Axios.
Why it matters: Elon Musk’s leadership style has caused many advertisers to flee, but media companies, newsrooms and sports leagues are reaping too much revenue and marketing advantage to quit the platform.
Details: This year, almost all of the major sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, PGA Tour and more, plan to run content deals on Twitter around regular season games and tentpole events, like March Madness, NBA Playoffs and the Super Bowl, according to the schedule seen by Axios.
How it works: Over the past few years, media companies and sports leagues have brokered multiyear deals with Twitter — typically between one to three years — through a selective program called Twitter Amplify.
Be smart: There’s little financial downside to staying in the content deals for publishers on the platform. But the companies and leagues don’t want to broadcast that they are sticking with the deals because they fear reputational damage from Musk-era Twitter’s free-speech free-for-all.
For Twitter and participating content partners, the deals can be important incremental revenue drivers.
The big picture: Most efforts by media organizations to quit Twitter have been brief or nonexistent, even for companies entangled in Musk’s banning of journalists last year.
By the numbers: While many advertising categories across Twitter saw between a 30%–60% drop in the number of active U.S. advertisers last quarter compared to the same quarter in 2021, the number of active U.S. media and entertainment advertisers fell by less than 15%, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Flashback: Most social media boycotts don’t last forever. Fox News went quiet on Twitter for over a year, only to return in 2020 during the coronavirus news cycle.
The bottom line: At a tough economic moment for the media industry, Twitter has proven too useful to give up.
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