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Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

After a year of profitability, Twitter sees a way to keep its business focused on growth. The company announced over a dozen new content deals Monday focused on quality programming tailored to the needs of existing, hyper-engaged communities on Twitter, rather than the widest corners of the internet. 

Why it matters: The company hopes that more high-quality video programming, created exclusively for Twitter with trusted media partners, will lure advertisers who are looking for more brand-safe destinations on social media platforms to run video ads. 

"If you love to watch football, we want to make sure it's the first thing you see when you open up Twitter."
— Twitter VP of Product Sriram Krishnan

Between the lines: Over the past two years, Twitter has refocused its business model on video ads, which are the platform's fastest-growing ad format and now represent over 50% of revenue. Twitter attributes the growth in its video advertising revenue to an uptick in quality programming.

Details: Twitter announced 13 new video deals Monday at its annual NewFronts presentation to Madison Avenue advertising executives. The company emphasized the quality media partners that it could work with to create curated video content. 

  • News: Univision and Twitter are launching a content partnership for Spanish-language audiences in the U.S. that will focus on news and sports, with coverage of the 2020 election. The company is also launching new partnerships with TIME and The Wall Street Journal. The Journal will introducing "WSJ What's Now," a new enterprise video franchise, while TIME will feature exclusive video content for its TIME 100 annual event. Twitter also said it will continue partnerships with BuzzFeed News and CNN.
  • Entertainment: Live Nation is launching a new concert and festival series exclusively on Twitter beginning this fall. The series will feature 10 concerts in 10 weeks with 10 world class artists — bringing the power of live to millions of music fans. Twitter is also launching a new partnership with MTV's "Video Music Awards Stan Cam" to gives fans the ability to create their livestream on the platform.
  • Sports: The company announced new and updated live partnerships with the NFL and MLB. It's also launching a new show with "The Players' Tribune" for what it's calling "the next generation of the talk show." It unveiled renewed partnership deals with the NBA, MLB, PGA TOUR, FOX Sports, The Ringer, and the Drone Racing League.

The big picture: The move comes amid a shift among social media companies to create brand-safe video destinations on their platforms for advertisers. Facebook rolled out its premium video tab "Watch," in 2017, while Snapchat announced a redesign in 2017 that separated social communications from curated videos in its "Discover" section.  

Yes, but: For Twitter, the focus will be on quality and curation much more than it will be on scale. As a result, it will not stream as many shows and videos as a platform like Facebook does, and the videos it will showcase will be targeted to a very specific audience that it knows wants them. 

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
7 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.