Twitter and BuzzFeed extend ‘AM to DM’ for another year

Twitter has renewed BuzzFeed’s live morning show, “AM to DM,” for a full year.

The daily morning show, which first premiered on Twitter in September 2017 and runs for over an hour every weekday morning, will continue airing on Twitter through 2019, the companies said. Initially, the deal between BuzzFeed and Twitter called for “AM to DM” to air for six months, after which Twitter renewed the show every quarter. This is the first time Twitter has given “AM to DM” the green light for a full year.

Twitter does not pay BuzzFeed to produce “AM to DM.” Instead, both companies work together to sell sponsorships and media against the full episodes and clipped segments. Sponsors have included Wendy’s, which ran as a presenting sponsor for five consecutive quarters, as well as brands ranging from Bank of America to Google to Toyota. A BuzzFeed spokesperson said the show is profitable for the company, which has a staff of more than 20 people working on the show on a daily basis.

With a year-long renewal, BuzzFeed has a chance to try new things with “AM to DM,” said Shani Hilton, vp of news and programming for BuzzFeed News. “Before we had been operating in shorter terminals — which was great because it allows to prove the concept — but this gives us an opportunity to expand the show and look ahead in a more concrete, long-term way.”

Plans for the upcoming year include a series of specials tied to major cultural events on the calendar including award show nominations, Black History Month, the summer and back to school. “AM to DM” will also produce specials tied to the black experience in America beyond the month of February. A minimum of nine different types of specials are currently planned for 2019, according to a BuzzFeed spokesperson, with plans to produce more if the programming seems to resonate with the Twitter audience.

Another plan for 2019 is to incorporate other BuzzFeed media properties and video shows into “AM to DM.” The show has already run Tasty-branded segments in the past and will now look to incorporate other properties and shows such as “The Try Guys” and Nifty.

“We have been looking at opportunities to really amplify and share across our teams,” Hilton said. “It would be nice to be able to do that for other brands.”

“AM to DM” is one of the most popular shows on Twitter, averaging 400,000 views per full episode, according to BuzzFeed, which declined average watch time per episode for the show. In addition to the full episode, BuzzFeed News cuts about 10 to 15 clips from the episode every day, which it distributes as on-demand short videos. In December, clips of “AM to DM” brought in approximately 5 million incremental video views on top of the views generated by the full episodes, a BuzzFeed spokesperson said. Twitter defines a view at the MRC standard of two seconds, at 50 percent in-view.

Live remains a core part of Twitter’s video programming strategy. In April 2018, the company unveiled 30 new and renewed live video programming deals during its NewFronts presentation which included shows with ESPN, NBCUniversal, Viacom and Vice Media. This was up from the 16 deals Twitter announced at its NewFronts presentation the previous year, which included “AM to DM.”

Advertisers in the past have said they like the company’s slate of live programming, which offers a different type of engaged viewer than Facebook Watch and YouTube.

“The audience is attentive and the mix of integrated, pre-roll and mid-roll ad units that Twitter’s live shows offer are great for marketers,” said Paul Marcum, CEO of social ad agency Big Finish Digital. “And given the platform’s role in carrying — if not outright driving — the news cycle, another election year on the horizon and the roll-out of 5G, Twitter’s live video channels have tremendous potential for growth.”

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