According to Adweek, Twitter's having a tough time deciding whether it wants to automatically play videos that appear in user timelines. Facebook made the move to autoplay last year, and while some users quickly complained about the new feature, it's gone off successfully and proven to be a huge boost for the company's advertising business. Instagram also automatically starts video playback as users scroll through their feed, but Twitter is apparently reluctant to disrupt its own user experience in the same way.
"It’s an argument that’s happening — a tug of war," an unnamed "industry source" told Adweek. Twitter is said to be "cautious" about implementing autoplay, but the service already makes heavy use of video. In June, the company acquired SnappyTV, a tool that lets broadcasters easily share snippets of network programming, live sports, and other content immediately after it airs on television. Twitter's stuck numerous deals with ESPN and other "multi-screen" partners, many of whom have been running in-tweet video clips for over a year now. The company monetizes these videos by attaching ads to them through its Amplify program.
Autoplay would certainly put those Amplify ads in front of more eyes, though it does risk upsetting some of Twitter's longtime users. For now, Twitter's got price on its side; Adweek says that Twitter's video ads come out to around 2 cents per view versus the $1 per view that advertisers pay other social networks. Earlier this year, CEO Dick Costolo hinted that improvements to video are on the agenda — along with a host of other additions as Twitter looks to up its user count.