X Could Launch CTV App This Week

Dan Meier 11 March, 2024 

X could launch a CTV app as early as this week, according to reports confirmed by Elon Musk, as the company formerly known as Twitter seeks to compete with YouTube.

The news was first revealed by inside sources, before Musk posted on X that the app was “coming soon”. The owner has been vocal in his ambitions to turn the social media company into a “video-first platform”, seeking to compete with YouTube and TikTok.

According to Fortune, the app will be available on Amazon and Samsung smart TVs. The source said the product looks “identical” to the YouTube app, adding that Musk was “set on competing with YouTube.”

Smart moves

Musk first hinted at plans for an X smart TV app in July 2023, when the company claimed that vertical video accounts for more than ten percent of time spent on the platform. Since Musk’s takeover the company has extended the maximum length of videos, with paid-up members able to post videos up to two hours long.

And the company has tried to position itself as more of a video destination by commissioning its own content, largely from disgraced news anchors, including Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon. X has also tried to encourage influencers onto the platform, along with their large audiences.

In January, YouTube star MrBeast reposted one of his videos to X, and claimed it generated $250,000 in revenue. The creator and other commentators were quick to point out that the exceptional circumstances meant the numbers were unlikely to be representative of video monetisation on the platform.

The battle for the living room

Regardless, there is a focus among video-sharing companies to encourage longer videos, which tend to generate higher ad revenues. The source at X said Musk was keen to push “long videos on a bigger screen.” The strategy appears to compete with TikTok’s revamped monetisation model that rewards creators for longer-form content.

And the move to TV viewing also chases YouTube’s living room domianance. According to Nielsen, YouTube is the most-watched streaming service in the US, capturing 8.6 percent of TV viewing in January 2024. YouTube said that in the last three years, the number of top creators who received the majority of their views on the TV screen increased by more than 400 percent.

From an advertising perspective, X will hope that the association of TV screens with premium content will make the app an appealing investment for advertisers. This is of particular concern for the company, which has been hemorrhaging high-profile advertisers over brand safety concerns on its social media platform. The company has lost 71.5 percent of its value since Musk’s acquisition, according to the most recent valuation by Fidelity, a major shareholder in X.

It remains to be seen whether the pivot to TV will pay off for X. It is worth noting that YouTube has its own history of brand safety violations, which have had seemingly little impact on its ad revenues. But stealing share from YouTube may prove a challenge. While Musk’s “free speech absolutist” position appeals to a certain subset of news anchors and their audiences, those same principles are a tougher sell for major advertisers.

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