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Sara Fischer Mar 17, 2017
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Twitter chases Facebook with major video update next week

Richard Drew / AP

Per The Information, Twitter will open up its API (application programming interface) next week to allow publishers to stream live video directly to Twitter. The way it's currently set up, publishers have to strike a deal with Twitter — like PBS did for the Inauguration or what the NFL does for Thursday night games — or publishers can go through the Twitter-owned live streaming app, Periscope. Twitter currently broadcasts roughly 6.6 million hours of live video through Periscope. A direct connection to the platform could increase that number on Twitter significantly.

Why it matters: This is the latest step Twitter is taking to compete with other media distribution giants, primarily Facebook and Snapchat, on live streaming video. Twitter beat out Facebook for NFL content, which draws an average of 3.5 million unique viewers per game. With an increase in live content through an open API, Twitter can expect to see an increase in video engagement, and hopefully revenue. Twitter credits its investment in video for increasing ad engagement 151% last year,