Twitter is both a media company and a technology platform
He made his comment in an interview with the Wall Street Journal at a timely moment.
Yesterday its was revealed that Twitter was teaming up with US broadcaster NBC Universal to cover the Olympics.
The Olympic tie-up with NBC was move that some said added to an idea that has been discussed by bloggers and other commentators of late that Twitter was increasingly positioning itself as a media company — something it has consistently denied.
That aside, there is no doubt that the Olympics agreement will be a big deal for Twitter and how it works with media organisations in the future.
It followed another recent content play with Nascar where it took ownership of the hashtag and built a page around the content. As a publisher would.
You could add to that list its the launch of expanded tweets, which deepens its relationship with media firms, and the role that Twitter is playing in the US presidential election.
Earlier this year Costolo said that this presidential election year was going to be the Twitter election and that “candidates who don’t participate on Twitter while the debates are going on will be left behind because the next morning is too late to respond”. It was a spot on statement about the importance that 140 characters would have in the run up to the November election. Twitter essentially providing the real-time media stream.
You could also look to last year when Twitter unveiled its new homepage that again seemed to more clearly reflect the kind of company it is becoming: a media company.
Gigaom is one site that has reported on this trend when it wrote recently that Twitter had “given up on being a utility built on open APIs and is becoming a media company, powered by a rapidly-growingadvertising platform”.
“Twitter also has one big advantage that other media companies don’t: the fact that it doesn’t have to produce any of the content, but simply acts as a filter for information from other sources. Its success will be determined by how well it strikes a balance between helping other media entities and competing with them.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has repeatedly resisted suggestions that Twitter is a media entity, perhaps in part because the company wants to be seen as a partner for traditional media companies like newspapers and TV networks. But as its advertising business grows larger — thanks in part to reports from advertisers of “staggering” levels of engagement with ad features like promoted tweets — and it continues to tighten the rules on its API to squeeze out third-party developers, it becomes more and more clear that Twitter’s future is based on controlling access to the information flowing through the network as closely as possible,” Gigaom reported.
Costolo talking to the Wall Street Journal, chiefly about working to expand plans to help users make sense of tweets that are concentrated around major events and sports, spoke about how Twitter was vying to “more closely tie the shared experience on Twitter to the actual event that is happening.”
He said that Twitter wanted to move away from companies that “build off of Twitter, to a world where people build into Twitter.
The Olympics and Nascar pages seem like good examples of that, which could eventually see it compete with some of the media firms it partners.
However, Costolo (again) played down the competition idea and said Twitter is a “technology company in the media business”.
Although as Reuters put it recently it seems fairer, some argue, to say that Twitter is both a media and technology company:
That stance helps assuage concerns on the part of the many media companies that use Twitter extensively that the platform is not a competitor. Twitter, in fact, is aiming for deeper partnerships with media firms with new offerings such as “expanded Tweets.”
It has also suited Twitter to pose as a tech company when it comes to potential regulatory and legal burdens, said Lou Kerner, founder of the Social Internet Fund.
Twitter has adopted the legal position that it has no ownership of individual tweets. The matter came to the fore in May, when a New York court ordered the company to hand over information about a user who was arrested during an Occupy Wall Street protest. But even though it lays no claim to the content of tweets, Twitter has moved aggressively to absorb or squash companies that have built products on top of the Twitter platform.