Twitter is getting on the 360-degree video bandwagon thanks to a partnership between the company, the NBA, and Samsung. Starting with Game 1 of the NBA Finals later today, Twitter cards will link out to videos shot with 360-degree cameras, allowing users to click and drag around the scene. The videos, which were filmed on a Samsung Gear 360 camera, will be sent out using the NBA's official Twitter account. It's unclear what the films will be comprised of exactly, but Twitter is promising "exclusive content" over the course of the series.
It's a sensible step for Twitter. The company has been at the forefront of many shifts in online video over the last few years, including live-streaming service Periscope and looping video app Vine. Yet even with its inherent utility for live events, Twitter has failed to stay apace with Facebook's enormous investments in live-streaming, virtual reality, and 360-degree video. All three components represent the next big and lucrative phase in social video, as advertisers try and figure out how to reach audiences who consume more and more video through online platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
At it stands now, Twitter is still not supporting native 360-video, as Facebook does. In other words, you have to leave Twitter's app or website to view them. But this new deal is a first step toward bringing more parity to Twitter and its competitors.
It also helps that this year's NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers is enjoying huge social buzz. Twitter hasn't said whether it plans on fully supporting 360-degree video. But if this NBA partnership is a success, you can imagine the company pouring more resources into filling your Twitter timeline with truly interactive videos.
Correction: This article originally said 360-degree video could be viewed from within Twitter's app or website. That is not true. The video link takes you to a separate website. We regret the error.