Twitter Expands Sponsored Video Push With BBC America Deal

Company Has Also Done Branded Content Deals with Likes of ESPN and Turner

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Twitter is venturing deeper into branded content with a new network partner.

The company has signed a deal with BBC America to serve video clips that can appear in-stream on Twitter when users click -- after, they hope, brief pre-roll from a sponsor.

While Twitter has struck various branded content deals of late with the likes of the Weather Channel and Turner Broadcasting's March Madness coverage, this is the first time that a sponsorship will be offered around episodic TV series.

BBC America announced the plan in a tweet on Thursday:

Twitter and Turner's March Madness effort centered around 15-second replays embedded in tweets from the official @marchmadness handle and using Twitter's "Cards" technology, which enables richer media experiences like video. Coke Zero and AT&T were inked as sponsors.

A Twitter spokesman confirmed that the partnership with BBC America will have a similar structure. It's a co-selling arrangement in which the network signs up brands to sponsor the video, and Twitter sells from its suite of ad products to help with distribution. (That means it's not a revenue share, per se, since the partners are selling two different products.)

Twitter made its first foray into branded content with a TV network last year when it worked with ESPN to create customized campaigns linked to tentpole sports events, starting off with the NBA Finals. That came before the launch of Cards, however, so there was no video dimension, just coordinated promotions on ESPN, ABC, and Twitter.

A BBC America spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the deal.

Twitter appears to have high hopes for partnerships with networks. The company is reportedly also in talks with Viacom and NBC Universal about hosting their TV clips and selling ads alongside them.

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