Disney to create live sports, entertainment shows for Twitter

FILE PHOTO: The Twitter application is seen on a phone screen August 3, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co will create live sports, news and entertainment programming specifically for Twitter Inc’s social network, a move to attract online viewers and advertising revenue through digital video.

Comcast Corp networks including NBC and MSNBC, Viacom Inc’s Comedy Central, MTV and BET, and others also are developing content for the social network, according to a statement on Monday from Twitter announcing more than 30 deals for live and original programming.

Disney’s ESPN network plans a Twitter version of its flagship “SportsCenter” TV show with breaking news and analysis, the statement said. Twitter also will live stream ESPN’s “Fantasy Focus Live” podcast.

The deals will expand Twitter’s streaming video offerings and help Disney and others reach audiences online while traditional television viewing wanes. Video views on Twitter have doubled in the past year, the company said.

Under the agreement, Disney’s ABC broadcast network, the Disney Channels, Freeform and the company’s movie studio also will produce live programming for Twitter, the statement said.

Shares of Twitter jumped 4.5 percent to $30.31 after the deal with Disney was announced. Disney shares rose 1.1 percent to $100.33 following the record-setting debut of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Other companies that will provide video for Twitter include Hearst Magazines Digital Media, Will Packer Media and BuzzFeed News, plus sports leagues including Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.

Twitter announced the deals in New York at the Digital Content Newfronts, where companies promote upcoming programming to advertisers.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Tom Brown