Twitter live-streams Wimbledon matches

Wimbledon on TwitterImage copyright

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Viewers can watch Wimbledon and post tweets about the action on the same screen

Select tennis matches at Wimbledon are being live-streamed on Twitter.

It marks the first time the tech firm has broadcast footage from a sports event in this way.

The high definition-quality stream is being offered in partnership with the TV network ESPN and the organisers of the Championships.

Several of Silicon Valley’s leading tech firms are investing in live-streaming technologies.

Twitter bought Periscope in January 2015, before the app had formally launched.

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Some people have streamed sports events on Periscope without permission, but Twitter has sought to remove the footage

Then in April this year, it signed a $10m (£7.7m) deal to stream NFL American football games later this year.

In August, 2015 Facebook launched its own live video feature. The company is paying dozens of media companies and celebrities more than $50m to use the service, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.

Google’s YouTube has been able to show live video since 2011. But the firm recently added the ability to stream 360-degree footage, and is in the process of testing a “go live” button on its mobile app.

‘Incomplete experience’

The Wimbledon feed features a video window at the top of the page, below which are shown related comments, unless the screen is expanded on a computer screen to give enough room for the tweets to appear in a separate column.

The hashtag #Wimbledon is automatically added to tweets that users post.

Users to not have to be members of the network to see the feed.

There is no way to scroll back or otherwise control the video. However, Twitter suggested the design was a work in progress.

“This live-stream is an extremely early and incomplete test experience, and we’ll be making lots of improvements before we launch it in its final form,” it said in a statement.

Twitter’s growth in active users – people who log in at least once a month – has slowed in recent quarters, even going into reverse at one point.

One expert said live-streams had the potential to help attract new people.

“Major sporting events already drive a huge amount of traffic on Twitter, and being able to mash that up with live video – which in theory should engage its audience more effectively – could be a very powerful combination”, commented Ben Wood from the tech consultancy CCS Insight.

“If Twitter is willing to make the investment to secure properties that people are desperate to watch, it will absolutely drive traffic.”

Twitter has not revealed the terms of the deal to stream the Wimbledon matches.

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